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California dreaming

So … A little over a year ago, I applied for a Green Card, which is the card you need to live and work in the United States. I can’t really explain what prompted me to do it. I wasn't unhappy, living and working in Bondi. On the contrary, we – my family – have been really happy these past few years, with our lovely children and our silly blue dog, Bella, in our funny old beach house, with our bikes and the book projects … and yet there I was, filling out the application form and paying the fee. I didn't go in the lottery. The odds are against you in the lottery. I applied in a special category for writers. I didn't hold out too much hope - or maybe that was just me, trying not to get my hopes up. Anyway, some months went by, and I got an email, inviting me to visit the consulate in Sydney. A woman behind the plate-glass security screen examined my file. She asked many questions. She took digital copies of my fingerprints, and then she smiled and said: ‘Welcome to the United States of America.’ And so, we leave on December 30. Our house in Bondi has been rented out. Most of our things are packed away. We aren't taking much: Bella is coming on the same plane (not in a seat, although she’d love that, but in a crate underneath); and we've each got an Apple Mac loaded with music, books and photographs; plus we've each got a suitcase with some clothes, and maybe a few keepsakes, like the battered toy snake that used to live in the twins' cot. We have no particular plans in mind. I’ve rented a little house by the sea that I found on Airbnb. At some point, I’d like to drive across the country to Duluth, Minnesota, to see the house where Bob Dylan was born ... but that’s about it, really. In the meantime, we’ve been having a few get-togethers to say farewell to people we love, and from time-to-time, they’ll say something like: “But I don’t really get it … tell me again, why you are doing this?” And the answer is: I don’t really know. All I can think of is this old saying:

Twenty years from now You will be more disappointed by the things that you didn't do than by the ones you did do So throw off the bowlines … Sail away from the safe harbour Catch the trade winds in your sails Explore. Dream. Discover.

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