“Lev Turner is selling three filing cabinets-$25 each, one ergonomic office chair- $30, Book Case FREE…”

“Lev Turner wants to know if anyone would like an avocado tree that we grew from a seed after guacamole night.  It is now 5’ tall….FREE”

“Lev Turner is offering free literature and anything else that you would like in our house…EVERYTHING MUST GO…”

For a week my Facebook status and Twitter feeds listed items that I either wanted to sale or give away.   In addition to traveling to India as an AIF Clinton fellow, I was also moving out of Chicago, PERMANETLY.   Several Craig’s List sales later, I loaded up a black Acura and road across country with five black bags and a small stuffed animal… this was everything thing that owned.

During the drive to New York, I thought of all the things that I would need to transport to India, but that failed to foster the decompression that needed to occur during the bittersweet moments immediately after leaving.  Chicago is one of my least favorite cities in the country, but it is also the home of family members and some of my most treasured friends on Earth.   My mind wandered to things that I would need to bring to India which required no space in my luggage and would never lead to back injuries after lugging them around New York, passing through Delhi, and transporting them to Chennai.  Humility, proficiency in Tamil, flexibility, patience, the ability to always see the big picture, and my desire to work towards leaving the world a little better than it was when I came into it were first on the newly revised packing list.

We arrived in upstate New York and spent a few days there regrouping and coming to the realization that we owned on a third of the things that we owned before.  I adjusted to sleeping in a new place.  The month of September arrived.  September 3rd, 4th, 5th, 6th and 7th passed without sparing a moment for me to identify the days of the week assigned to those dates.  I spent long evenings in Manhattan, blazing afternoons in Brooklyn, and uncertain mornings saying good-bye to some of the most important people in my life.  In a flash, I was standing in the middle of a Brooklyn living room staring at what was left of my once treasured possessions breaking the seams of my bags and spilling on to the hardwood floor.

Running shoes, linen paints, intimate appeal, torch light, insect repellent, ipod, jewelry, sunglasses, two pairs of jeans, conditioner, deep conditioner, three blazers, other stuff, more stuff and more other stuff…. the packing list that I crated in Excel was three pages long when I printed it out.  There is no way that I could carry all of these seemingly indispensible items with me to Delhi and ultimately Chennai.  “Lev , let go…” I told myself among other things.  Humility, courage, trust, acquired wisdom, Tamil language skills, integrity, remember to listen more than you talk…packing these things and stowing them inside of me reduced the anxiety of doing the inevitable.  I will arrive at JFK with virtually everything that I own, which fits into three black bags.

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