We closed our suitcases and did one final check in the house in which we had lived for a long year, to switch off the lights, lock the door and take the plane to Shanghai. And then we found one bowl with a cat printed on it, left in the sink. “Just throw it away”, I said to Leila. The hectic month of May had made me pragmatic. When you (in the space of a few weeks) marry, leave your job, and move to China, you stop worrying about a bowl with a cat printed on it, especially when your bags are packed. “No”, said Leila as she fastened the bowl underneath the elastic bands of her bag. I thought to myself; that bowl is never going to stay there as we’ll travel nearly twenty hours from door to door. I’d rather just get it over with, throw it away now, not have to worry about it, but Leila clearly works differently. On the way out she also found a power strip and two towels, which she put on her bag too.
And so we took the taxi, train, plane, switched in Moscow, another plane, immigration, another taxi, and trying to find the apartment in the middle of the night. And all this time I looked at the bowl being held onto her bag with elastic bands, partly being surprised it was still on, partly being nervous about it disappearing soon. But I’m writing this, so of course it held on. It’s in our apartment now and I think about this when I see that bowl. It (and Leila) taught me to worry less, as well as that not being pragmatic can be very pragmatic too. I think about all the bowls with cats printed on it that I’d otherwise miss out on.