There’s a scene in The Lion King, right after Simba decides he needs to return to Pride Rock, when Rafiki (the laughing baboon — asante sana squash banana — for those of you not as well versed in Disney characters) realizes that Simba is alive after all. He laughs kind of maniacally, gets excited, and declares, “It is time.”
Lion King metaphors…That’s how life feels right now. Lately I’ve felt a lot like Simba in this story, because he doesn’t want to go to Pride Rock and leave his comfortable life. That’s hard to do. But don’t things get better for Simba in the end?
End metaphor. Enter real life…even though the last few days have felt entirely surreal.
On Sunday, my birthday, my brother, sister, and I celebrated with breakfast. We attempted a Coconut Dutch Baby, slightly adapted from the recipe in my new Joy the Baker cookbook (buy the book and let it change your baking life). You can find the recipe here, because I highly recommend it — with certain important changes: Replace the butter with coconut oil…double the amount of toasted coconut…enjoy sans pineapple (for me) and with loads more coconut on top. Then, we rushed to Sea-Tac to pick up my parents, who were returning from their 2.5-week mission trip to Zimbabwe. That was the best possible present: getting my parents back!
Although, a close second, in terms of gifts, was my new SLOTH. Yes, a sloth. My dream has come true…sort of. I got a stuffed sloth…but ALSO: Somewhere in South America, there is a real sloth adopted in my name, and I love him even though I’ve never met him. Alyssa adopted him for me through World Wildlife Fund, possibly as a tribute to the time that she actually looked up the possibility of a pet sloth for me on Craigslist.
Turns out, that’s kind of a black market thing around here. And in Illinois…because I just checked that, too.
Since Sunday, I’ve slowly packed up my things and prepared to move. I realized that it is very different to move across the country, as compared to going somewhere for a semester (or two). There are no faculty to watch out for me. There are no community dinners. There are no built-in structures for making friends. I’m not even there, and I’m already lonely. That’s what boxes do.
So, it seems very hard right now, and you can be praying for me. I’m trying to finish up my final class at SPU (the final exam of which is tomorrow afternoon), get packed, spend time with friends and family, and prepare myself for a massive road trip. It doesn’t feel like an adventure; it feels terrifying.
Twelve hours after my final ends, my dad, brother, and I will be leaving my driveway in my very small, very full Ford Focus, setting our sights for Carol Stream. We head out Friday morning. We’ll end our trip on Sunday afternoon, and they’ll fly back on Tuesday morning. Then I’m on my own.
I keep saying, “It will be fine once I get there…this is exactly how I felt last year; I didn’t want to go to D.C. and I loved it. This will be the same way.” I believe that’s true. There are moments when I really doubt it, but I believe Carol Stream is where I’m supposed to be this year, even though it’s not where I want to be.
In any case, you can be praying, because I’ve been happy where I am — and there are other places I would rather be — but somewhere there’s a baboon laughing for me, and he’s saying, “Melissa, it’s time.”