September was all about arrivals – three of them, all occurring within a ten-day span during a pandemic, with fires raging in the West, in a country swirling ever deeper into a shithole of its own making thanks to a morally bankrupt administration and, as been recently revealed though long suspected, a literally bankrupt unbillionaire president. And yet we persist in our daily pursuits because that is, in part, how we survive.
On September 16, my younger daughter Ana, her infant son Ilio, and I arrived in Sacramento from Seattle. Our initial plan was to drive, the safest mode during this pandemic, but fires in Oregon and California were affecting travel with smoke, closures, and evacuees. We masked up, ensured we had hand sanitizer and wipes at the ready, and boarded a plane for the hour and a half flight. With six empty rows ahead of us and two behind us, we felt sufficiently distanced from other passengers. Sacramento was our destination because Ana would be starting a new job there. We settled into temporary digs while Ana searched for an apartment, secured transportation, and became somewhat familiar with the city. First impressions: People here are friendly (which totally charms this Seattleite). California’s crazy driver reputation is earned. There are a lot of Target stores in Sacramento.
On September 21, my third book of fiction, Living Color: Angie Rubio Stories, arrived in the world, and on September 23, I officially launched it with an online event, thanks to Hugo House and Elliott Bay Books. It was a fun event, though of course, as with many things lately, it didn’t go without a hitch. The conversation I had planned to have with Kathleen Alcalá never happened due to a failed Internet connection on the island where she lives. We had some fun topics planned – our California girlhoods and hometowns, finding our place in the world, and race. When Kathleen’s virtual presence never materialized on screen, the unflappable Rob Arnold seamlessly stepped in and came up with discussion topics on the spot for flappable me.
On September 26, came the long-awaited arrival of Ana’s partner Daniel. Ever since leaving Ecuador for the U.S. with Ilio at the start of the pandemic for a job offer that was ultimately rescinded thanks to the Department of Homeland Security, Ana had been tracking when the U.S. Consulate would resume processing visa applications. She had also kept busy during the summer applying and interviewing for jobs. Everything seemed to come together at once. She was offered and accepted the job in Sacramento and agreed on a September 28 start date. In the meantime, Daniel was scheduled for a visa interview on September 1. Once his visa application was approved, the wait for the actual document to arrive seemed interminable. As soon as the DHL tracker indicated a delivery date, a flight was booked for Daniel. Given the anti-immigrant sentiments of this administration, we were worried that Daniel might encounter some unfounded interrogation as he passed through customs. Our older daughter was subjected to harassment and false accusations by CBP several years ago when she returned from Costa Rica, so we were wary. Thankfully, where we most feared something might go wrong, nothing did. Daniel passed through customs unscathed. In his luggage was the family of dolls he had made for Ilio while he was quarantining alone in Quito. He’s quarantining here in Sacramento, but at least he’s now in the same country with Ana and Ilio.
So as September ends, I breathe a sigh of thanks for these arrivals. Now as we move forward in our daily pursuits, let’s vote for the arrival of a new president in the White House in January or be condemned to the shithole.