Four years ago today we bought our house. The emptiness of it all was overwhelming. Today we’re working our way through Day #3 of a weekend moving sale. We need to return to that emptiness.

When we say “everything must go,” we aren’t kidding. If it can’t fit in a suitcase it needs a new home. This includes my incredible signed, first edition boxed set of Anne Rice books (inward wails), my vintage, refurbished newspaper box (teeth gnashing) and my collection of black hats (wondering why).

Kana Kobashigawa

I don’t have regrets about moving to Brazil, but I do have a lot of fear. What-ifs are sapping my energy. My brain cycles through potential catastrophes in lurid detail. I’m tired and mourning. I’ve grown into this house like a hermit crab. I’m shaped by my abode and it’s become a comfortable burden.

This will be the third time in my life I’ve let everything go to start again in a new country but this time is harder. I’ve gotten old enough to have roots. I can feel them snagging at the earth when I walk. They slow me down. I think about what it was like for my great-grandmother to immigrate.

To be honest, my life won’t change much. I’ll still visit with friends and family online. She was really saying goodbye. When Ryan and I landed in Rio de Sul for the first time we couldn’t understand any Portuguese. Now we have Google translate set up on our phones. How did she make the trip? She spoke broken Japanese, and probably no English.

Most of all, I wonder what my great-grandmother thinks of me leaving. She sacrificed to come to America. Does she feel like I’m wasting her gift or does she look through my eyes to new horizon with anticipation?

In 32 days I’ll find out…

By Angela Yuriko Smith

Angela Yuriko Smith is a third-generation Shimanchu-American and award-winning poet, author, and publisher with 20+ years of experience as a professional writer in nonfiction. Publisher of Space & Time magazine (est. 1966), producer of the Exercise Your Writes YouTube podcast, two-time Bram Stoker Awards® Winner, and HWA Mentor of the Year for 2020, find her at

  1. With plenty of support once you arrive,I’m sure you’ll be stepping into a phase of growth, adjustment (of course) and realization of your ongoing lifetime goals. It will be that your embracing the new and unknown will make it possible to achieve even more! My thoughts and best wishes are with you, Angela!

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