The way has opened for interrupted plans. Not only did barriers fall, but there is a deadline by which change must happen. Suddenly, there is no time to waste. Quite enough gets wasted in the competition among priorities.
When pandemic shut down the world, I was in the midst of extricating from Austin in order to move abroad. For decades I have mumbled that some day, if everything was right, just see if I don’t, I would move to a place real both on earth and in wishful thinking. I call it my far horizon.
Montevideo. When I was a kid I liked pronouncing it to myself. The sound alone made it a conjure word. As an adult I found it a place that made sense in a way that was unfamiliarly comfortable. I had finally committed to going and started on that path when covid-19 steamrollered everybody’s agendas. I cross my fingers that it still makes sense, that I can make myself comfortable.
Over the months since the planet’s responsible people masked up and hunkered down, I have suspected that the way, when it opened, would open suddenly. So it has. The past eighteen months have eaten deeply into resources I thought would carry me, but the time to go has come and I am going.
This is not yet a permanent move. The approaching residency is temporary, only three months. It is a foot in the door, an indirect route that leads to possibility. There is no way to arrange to stay without first arranging to get there. I have been given a chance to get there.
The chance has an expiration date, and a weight limit for baggage physical and emotional. Everything is coming together except reducing that footprint. I crave better access to a dumpster. Dumpsters. One for all the crap I don’t need and one for the sentimental attachments that dragged it this far.
I am not going to become an ex-patriot. I am going to become local. I want to grow into part of the place. In many ways I am going to continue living as I have tried for years to live, quietly, with mind and eyes open and ears pricked. Drawing and writing will continue as two of my defining activities. If you look, you will still find Robert Stikmanz. But everything will be different. The language. The seasons. The flora. The butterflies. The expectations. As far as states of mind, Uruguay is the antipodes. Ready or not, I am going.