In the months to come, I worked. A lot. I effectively worked 3 jobs – I’ve had the good fortune of being able to step into a collaboration with my powerhouse of a mother. I will one day shamelessly promote it. Oh wait, oooooooops.
I also picked up a side hustle.
I would sell art. I’d been trying to come up with an idea for a while of simple art pieces I could make and sell online and/or at a market. And in my pursuit of this travel dream, it finally came to me. I made these fun, quirky, ultra-colorful collages and these mixed media pieces with dried flowers. Man oh man, for a while there I was a lean, mean, collage-making machine. It was fun. Even more so, it was remarkable to see the support from so many loved ones. You all forever stun me into silence.
The pieces I made ended up in a store. It was the happiest day; I couldn’t believe things were coming together. My fingers were oh-so crossed, hoping they would sell. Hoping people would like this version of me.
Next, I applied to be a stallholder at a market. I woke up early one Sunday and packed up suitcases full of art, decorations, cleaning supplies. I.froze.my.butt.off. Seriously, it was so cold. I had visits from friends (and a pooch!).
I only sold 3 art pieces that day. I made 35 euros. I had paid 90 euros to stand there. But I’m not one to be discouraged. I stood at my second market. I sold nothing. Not a single, solitary item. 90 more euros went down the drain. I’m not one to be discouraged but now, I’ll admit it. I was discouraged. I asked fellow stallholders if this was normal – maybe my stuff just sucks. Maybe it’s not that cute. Maybe it’s overpriced.
“Well, markets are really more about getting your name out there. Sure, sometimes we make money, but recently, more often than not, we don’t really. But what we’re doing here is marketing our stores, our online shops, our product.” – But I don’t want to market things, I need to make money.
Ugh. Face down, press on. You can do this. My labor wasn’t really bearing fruit yet, but I was determined that it would. I would make this work. In the meantime I decided that instead of 3 months I would travel for 5 – can you tell I was beginning to throw caution to the wind?
By now it was late April. King’s day in Amsterdam. I decided to forego schlepping my things around the city in an effort to sell them. Today would be a fun, carefree day. My friends and I danced outside, two of us had a sleepover. You are never too old for a good old fashioned sleepover, okay? Okay. The next day we had a ladies’ brunch planned. We all thought it would just be a fun way to get over a hangover. Little did we know that a little surprise lay in wait.
I need to take a step back here. I need to provide context – I loooove providing context.
As I’ve said before, I grew up in Curacao. Small communities can mean many things. One of these things, I have come to learn, is that proximity to one another means you can grow older with friends that have been -and hopefully for you, continue to be- around for a long time.
I have many of those friends. I have friends that I have met when I was 0, 4, and/or 12 years old. Friends I met in all the years in between. Friends that still mean the world to me.
This friend is one of them. And at a ladies’ brunch the day after King’s Day, she told us that she was pregnant.
From sleepovers in my living room to high school graduation to the trials and tribulations of university to blazing her own trail to here. Today. A baby. And us, having been lucky enough to bear witness to it all.
I love words. I love mixing them together, seeing how far I can stretch them. Pulling them apart and putting them back together. But this news took all the words straight out of my mouth and my mind. Out of nowhere, zero to one hundred, this love for a child is suddenly here. A child that isn’t here yet him or her self. A child that isn’t my own. I can’t explain it, all I know is that this love? It’s a love that feels too big for my body to house. I know. Wish me luck for when I eventually have my own.
I can’t wrap my head around this incredible news but I suddenly know one thing with absolute certainty: I need more time. I cannot miss this.
I cannot be the one to miss you. I can’t disappear; not just yet. I need to be here. I am not leaving here before late November, I can promise you that much.
I recognize that this seems a little off-kilter – why the drama, you’re coming back, aren’t you? But there’s something about this weightlessness that makes me feel there is more to come.
I also recognize that I am delaying the inevitable. But the fact of the matter is, though I am acting tough, though I am vocalizing the dream with absolute certainty, I am a little scared. I am a little nervous. I’m just not quite ready yet -ha, as if you ever will be.
I have this irrational fear that you will forget me. I fear your lives moving on without me. I fear all of the moments I will miss. I think of baby socks, new houses, new business ventures. You’re all doing so much. So much is changing. I simply need more time. I need to share a few more milestones with you; I need to partake in a few more moments.
Selling more of my personal effects somehow grounds me. Pouring myself into baby gifts and imagined futures keeps me sane. This phase of life, in all its unexpected abnormality, seems normal. I am soaking up this dose of abnormal normality.
I stand in the rain at another market. I sell one item. I swear off of the markets for now. I don’t have money or energy for this.
The months go by. I sort through clothes and shoes I never wear. I pack them up to sell, this time at a flea market. – She regains energy quickly, it seems.
It’s now August and I still haven’t booked flight tickets. The time to delay has passed. You have spoken this into existence, now you have to really follow through. The ticket buying process itself is quick, and it’s emotional. I’m hiding in our office bathroom crying tears of gratitude at this point. – I’d probably have cried anyway but as context: I received a massive helping hand from family for this one. You are all so good.
It’s late August and my tickets are booked; there’s no turning back. I officially leave in November.
Oh and by the way, the 5 month trip has become almost 7. It’s beginning to look like there is no limit to the things I will do.