The day has finally come. As a friend said during our last hike together on the volcano, "Bill, you remind me of that Peter, Paul and Mary song. I immediately knew which one she meant, and started singing, "Leaving on a jet plane," which, if you've ever heard me sing, you know was enough to make my friend wish I was already at the departure gate.
Today is the day. And the last couple weeks have been full of "lasts" like that hike -- last visit to the glowing crater, last class with my sweet and sassy middle school writing students, last time time buying toilet paper in English, last American health insurance payment (my Swiss policy will be twice as expensive; I assume that means it comes with an interpreter who'll sit in with me and the doc).
So today I am officially putting the "ex" in "expat." (Many would say I never really have put the "pat" in at all, but that's a topic for another day.) Truth is, I'm equal parts ecstatic to be joining my bride in Switzerland, and sad to leave this place I love so much. I've lived in Hawai'i for 30 years -- 23 in Honolulu, 7 in Volcano on the Big Island, so I know that, no, Hawai'i is not really paradise, but it's a very special place, and Volcano village is my favorite part of it. Mostly, it's about the friends around the Islands to whom I'm saying aloha now, as I was reminded by all of you who came to a going-away party that was thrown for me a couple nights ago. Gosh guys, I'm going to miss you -- until you come see my chérie and me in Neuchatel. Meanwhile, I'll be here on this blog, trying not to be too obnoxious.
Talk to you in a couple days from the other side of the planet, where I'll no doubt be drooling and babbling in that charming jet-lag way.