Friday July 16, 2010
I do this annoying thing when I wake up in the morning that I can’t describe better than a need to situate myself in time. I compare the day to larger life events, comings and goings, holidays, due-dates, birthdays etc. I say for example, “this time last week we were leaving for Awassa” or “this time last year I was moving.” It has been a habit of mine for as long as I can remember. Something that I have always needed to do to align my thoughts with reality. So now that I have revealed just how absolutely crazy I am on this oh so public forum I will make my point, and that is that it occurred to me today that, “this time next week will be my last day in Ethiopia.” Sadly, that is the next and most significant milestone. It is no longer logical to calculate how long it has been since my arrival, I am now on the tail end, making the final countdown, playing the bottom of the ninth, you can choose your favorite cliché.
Consequently this all means that I am now thinking about “going back home.” That phrase catches in my throat. And while I am being honest, this is something else I tend to do: to make something real, when I need to convince myself of something, I say it out loud. So, for two reasons, I literally choke over the words.
The first is I hate “good-byes.” They turn me into this incredibly awkward person. And if you heard me say this before it’s because I dread good-byes so much that mull over how awkward the encounter will be days beforehand. I would much rather leave than say goodbye. I honestly think it would be beneficial to all parties if I forwent this traditional social edict and just slipped out.
The second reason is perhaps a little harder to explain.
Dickens wrote “There is nothing harder than being given your chance.” Well I feel as though I have had my chance, I have realized a major dream of mine. This is my dream. And there are days I feel a though this opportunity happened to me. As much as I would like to believe that I drove my life in this direction, it simply isn’t true. This opportunity happened upon me, it was luck, fate, what was meant to be and stuff like that simply doesn’t happen too often. So the hardest part is what will do now that I have been given my chance, going home means “what happens now?”
Going home. Moving forward, but also backward at the same time, it’s a funny contradiction that makes me understand that what I am returning to can never be the same as what I left because I am not the same. So then maybe the contradiction is not in going back home, but in myself.