Tuesday, July 14, 2020

Chattanooga Diaries


The following words are an excerpt from my diary when I was en route a business trip in Chattanooga, Tennessee. It was my second business trip to Tennessee, the first one being Nashville in 2011, and, like all business trips I was way too busy to devote any serious time to journaling, but I wanted to capture my experience in these blog. I did not know then that it would be the last domestic business trip I would take for a while, as the pandemic reached the U.S. about one month later.

“Said goodbye to the baby this morning in the dark. She was snoring sweetly and didn’t notice me leave. My heart aches. I feel I am on the verge of crying. Suddenly this blessing of travel, of opportunities feels like a curse or burden or “difficult time” instead. I am counting the days until February 22, because that is the day I land from Ethiopia, and then I am back in Portland a whole month before needing to travel again.
I am only here now because I have to be. Like a business trip that was forced on me. Like something I didn’t want to say yes to. That’s how it feels. The tears are beating behind my eyes. Everything reminds me of her: the Lyft driver talking about his kid, a woman in the airport restaurant whose son had the same pacifier as my daughter. I used to love travel, love airports, love new places. This is why I have the career that I have. Just talking about these opportunities made me excited. I have been looking forward to this trip for a long time. This is an unbelievable opportunity that I should cherish. But I miss my little girl. Is it this way for all mothers? While on the Lyft ride over to the airport in the dark, the driver was telling me about how contractions feel (he apparently did some simulation at a birthing course), and in a moment - as we approached he terminal - I relieved her entire birth. I will miss my little girl so much. At least these short trips come before the long one in Ethiopia. And at least the long one is not that long. I can get though this. 20 more days (and at least a few of them I get to spend with her). The countdown begins now.
-       February 2nd, 4:58am

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