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We arrived late in the evening, our limbs sapped from dragging four 23kg bags and a doll’s house-sized cat kennel through three airports. On the journey over, there had been customary flight delays, heart-stopping dashes to monorails that connected vast circuits of terminal and lingering fatigue-induced silences where only our eyes talked.

Two flights (20-hours travelling time collectively) brought us to Central America, our cat, my husband and I, bleary-eyed, frail in tolerance, but safe. For all the distance we had covered that day – over oceans, planes and cloud-dappled mountains – we were in relatively good spirits. As with previous colossal moves, we were faithful in keeping two simple promises: to choose patience over frustration, forgiveness over anger. This was my husband’s second upheaval to distant shores; first to find perfect barrels and now for work. This would be my fifth, and always because I was following others – first my family and now him. My fifth country, my fifth culture, my fifth inauguration into labyrinthian processes and bleak government- run establishments.

In the dark and cold of winter’s approach, as we skittered across the airport parking lot to our hired car and tried to decipher driving on the “wrong” side of rain-slicked roads, I began to wonder how we managed to uproot and replant ourselves so often without cracking. Why didn’t we seem more doleful over all we had relinquished and left behind?

Well, the truth is, in our secluded sanctuary, dolefulness frequently surfaced. Every new start, every new home, every challenging day spent far from friends and family reinforced how solitary togetherness could sometimes be. And now, on the cusp of another brave new adventure, there would probably be more loneliness, more tears, more wondering what the heck we were doing here.

I looked at our cat, limp as a rag doll in my arms, I followed the wipers as they rhythmically flubbed away the rain and watched my husband stave off weariness in an effort to guide us safely to our new home. Knowingly, he glanced sideways and in one sweet, fleeting expression – a lopsided smile, his hand on my cheek – reminded me of my reason for believing we would make it here like we’d made it everywhere else: I chose him. I choose him. I choose to love in deed and feather his heart.

Life can happen anywhere but it can’t happen with just anyone. On our own or with loved ones, in a palace or under a bridge, and even here in this vast land of America, we’re poised to conquer because we choose each other.


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