Our only daughter, Saran, had been living in the Bay area since 2016 working as a writer for a mobile game company. In September, she accepted a job offer as Story Director at a gaming company in Copenhagen Denmark. Saran agreed to move abroad (telecommuting was not an option) and spent a month preparing for her departure. She drove her car to Oregon where we live, and we helped her pack up 13 boxes of her possessions (she sold or gave away furniture, household goods, and anything that she didn't want to ship). It was quite the process, and I marveled at how she was able to distill her life down to so few boxes. (When I was 30, I had so many boxes of LPs, photos, books, etc. I could have filled a whole room!). We put Saran on a plane, and poof--she was on the other side of the world! Luckily, free apps help keep us connected via videochat and text; so far, she seems to be thriving in her new environment.
My husband wrote this on his facebook page the day he drove Saran to the airport:
Dropped off my daughter at the airport, as she is moving to Copenhagen, Denmark, for work. Every child's departure asks more urgently than the last in a parent's soul "Will I see you again? When?"
For us, the first departure was college. Her college was an hour away, far enough for her to have to fend for herself, close enough we could help if the need were to arise.
The next one was to graduate school in Edinburgh, Scotland. Farther yet afield, but for only a year; how much could happen in a year? We never thought of this as something permanent; she developed a love for Edinburgh, but, with school finished, she returned home.
The next one was getting her first job in California. This was farther, but still only a couple of hours by plane. Out of sight but not out of mind, and close enough that we could help if needed.
But to another country, half way round the Earth? That seems more irreversible, more decisive. My imagination cannot paint what lies ahead, because living elsewhere is beyond my experience. Of course we never can see what lies beyond today, but even in our hectic age our world changes; it changes so slowly we construct the illusion that tomorrow will be like today. Until it isn't. It never is the same today as it was yesterday. These departures bring our lives into clearer focus.
Ride the wind, little bird, where ever it might blow you.
All of this is to say that everything changes--in art as well as in life--and we have to learn to adapt and let go of some of our long-held beliefs and assumptions. Days after Saran left for Denmark, I taught an in-person two day weekend mixed media workshop here in Portland, and had to adjust my approach to meet the needs of the students (who ranged from experienced artists to novice beginners). It was a big leap from the relative control I've enjoyed when I teach via ZOOM these past few years, but I rose to the challenge and we had a successful workshop. There were equipment snafus (I wasn't able to connect my laptop to the projector) but we sailed through it and the students and I created some interesting paintings (some of which I've included in this post).