It didn’t hit me until after I dropped Autumn off at the Oversized baggage area.
On Sunday morning I left my home and my siblings in Berkeley. I packed my bags into my car (my back was killing me) and headed off to my cousins house in Manteca. Due to some last minute logistics (lots of hugs and tears, as well as cancelling of Directv). We left about two hours after I had planned (it was 11:15 when we hit the road) and it was awful. I-5 sucks when everyone is driving home from the bay area. So Instead of it taking 4 hours it took about 8 hours. Everyone in the car was miserable. Autumn did amazing though, only whining a few times when the car slowed down.
By the time we go to the hotel (at around 8) we were all tired. My cousin got food, I took autumn to the bathroom and put the pajamas on. I felt anxious though about the following day-my aliyah day. I was worried forAutumn. I was worried for myself and carrying these bags by myself.
Autumn did not like the hotel. Every time people got loud (running up and down the hall way) she would bark-so loud and aggressively, scaring us half to death (because we were sleeping). She did this 3 times during the night. Autumn has been in hotels before and she did well. I think the stress of driving to LA and saying goodbye might have also affected her behavior.
My alarm sounded at 6 am but I was tired and she was sleeping so I went back to bed…Well the barking woke me 15 minutes later so we were off for our walk. Autumn hated it-she did not want to go for a walk. She kept pulling to go back to the hotel but I knew I needed her to be tired. I also was very anxious about taking her to the airport and he woke process because I didn’t know what to expect or how to manage all by myself. I also know Autumn has separation anxiety and I feared she would make so much noise because she was in distress. The good thing about walking during that time was that I was able to come up with a plan to deal with Autumn and the bags at the airport and that was very regulating. I then spoke to my mom while we both walked and that was nice too.
Upon return Autumn did not eat. She also didn’t really eat the night before either which was concerning. (When I say she didn’t eat I meant she didn’t eat her dog food but she was about that Panda Express. She was very thirsty though. But knowing she had a fourteen hour flight plus her wait time (3 hours) she wouldn’t have a chance to use the bathroom so I let her drink her water cutting her off at 8:45.
Well we headed to the airport and I initially tried to check Autumn first but that did not work. I had to call my cousin back so I could get my bags, then pay the bell guy to bring the stuff in and then go through the line. This part was the part I had been dreading the whole time. Being alone with all my stuff and Autumn. I had this feeling of not knowing anything and it was so disconcerting. I also was anxious because my bags were heavy, which I knew and I had hoped that they wouldn’t charge me because some bags were heavier than others.
After passing through the security screening (he asked about my aliyah and the process of making aliyah. They asked me about my Hebrew name and other stuff). I went to the scales to weigh it all. Well Two bags were too heavy, with one being entirely too heavy that I’d have to chuck stuff. Well I panicked on the inside. I mean I had meticulously packed my bags and this was all the stuff I wanted that I could bring. I couldn’t afford to pay the extra money for the two heavy bags ($100) each plus Autumn ($200).
The man was very helpful though. He was like listen you have this small carryon here. go over there get a cheap bag at the store and take stuff out. I’ll let you have this extra carry on (so that would be three bags including this bag, backpack, and purse). So they let me leave my bags, I walked Autumn outside where she used the bathroom again, and I bought a new duffle bag for ($40). I then walked back over and sat on the ground rearranging stuff. In the end I gave up my laptop bag, a roll of garbage bags, two old notebooks, my purple stappler, my purple tape dispenser and my huge bag of markers which included my favorite scissors. Some bags were slightly over but with all that commotion they had to take my bags because it was loading time.
With relief I paid the extra $100 for the one heavy bag and the $200 for Autumn. After they took the bags I walked Autumn over to the oversizeded baggage area where her kennel with through secuity, before she hoped in with her treat and we said goodbye.
As I walked away it hit me. All the avoidance and one track mind of getting to the airport was over. I had nothing to distract my feelings any more. I felt the tears well up as I mounted that escalator and looked around at sunny Los Angeles through the windows. California, my home. Where my family and friends are. PeopleI’ve known for my whole life or for large portions of my life. People who I could quote inside jokes or rap songs from my childhood with. The loss of everything that was familiar to the unknown where nothing is familiar. I didn’t hear Autumn at all as I left and yet I felt her loss as I left her. Like she was my last little bit that was tethering me to my life in California.
I had thoughts of turning around and “escaping”. Literally that’s howI felt like if I left an dissed my flightI was on the run or something. Because the drama of the bags I didn’t have a chance to sit. I got some good (I hadn’t even all day and it was 1pm). I walked through the airport to my terminal to catch the bus to get to the airplane. I continued to feel this heavy weight that I could not explain. As I sat in my seat watching them drive the bags and things over, wondering which one was Autumn in, I continued to feel that sense of loss. Saying goodbye was so hard. I no longer had any distractions because I was on the plane. We were doing it.
A young woman sat next to me and she began to talk to me. She was on her birthright trip with her brother. She had not heard about aliyah and I talked about it. Her mother is a Marriage and Family Therapist like me and she is transitioning to online counseling like me. the young woman works with human trafficking survivors and wants to go to law school where she can do human rights law and change policy with regards to how we treat victims of exploitation. We chit chatted and that heaviness began to dissipate. Those tears and feeling sob anxiety and loss were replaced by the awe of what I am embarking on. There is so much healing that needs to happen in this world and I get to still do it, while I also get to be in my spiritual home. I realized that the thing that makes this experience so great is that all the things I wanted for myself, interpersonally I will get to do. I want to get out of my comfort zone. Done! I don’t like talking to strangers yet I want to meet knew people and enjoy those platonic relationships with people who are different (and similar in ways) to myself. I will do that since I will be forced to make ew friends and new colleagues. I want to take risks and see the world. I want to have my on business as a therapist. I want to learn Hebrew and Arabic and whatever other language I encounter. Mostly I want a do over. I constantly say to myself that if I knew what I know now I would’ve done_________. As I threw away stuff from my bag I kept thinking your doing it all over. Your starting from the bottom again but this time with a different knowledge base and skill set.