This is my last entry from somewhere interesting, or at least that’s how it feels. Though the most overwhelming feeling is exhaustion. Physically, yes. Sleep last night wasn’t sound and the net didn’t quite cover the bed. But also a larger and quieter exhaustion, the mental toll that life here so naturally imposes.
What’s coming seems too new, almost too immense to allow enjoyable anticipation. I think about New York and Shannon and my family and home and I feel nothing. Maybe a silent satisfaction, but the larger idea of what’s happening is too big, composed of too many intricate parts to allow easy and descriptive enumeration.
At the same time, I look out the window at the palm trees and the tropical sun and I ask myself to drink them in, to enjoy and savor the little peculiarities that will soon be lost to sight and mind. But I can’t. I feel as even and blasé about here as I do about where I am going.
Perhaps that’s just how airports are?
I can remember so clearly arriving here. Gleaning so intensely for differences that the most pedestrian of variations seemed profoundly alien. I can recall these terminals and custom desks and stumbling through them guided by Peace Corps staff, exhausted and confused from the 18 hour flight. I could not believe how different things were here. This place – the first place – seems a touchstone for this whole experience because of how different it seemed then, and how normal it is now. It’s an airport. Like many others I have been to in Africa and at home.
Is the contrast of that moment and this one the same contrast that I will see arriving home? Will those faces and places seem as bizarre and unfamiliar as this place once did?
I’m desperate to know how I have changed (as I can only assume I have). But the mirror my recollection provides can only contrast the me I had when I arrived compared to me now. What seemed alien and strange has revealed itself as profoundly normal. Will my experience of these ticket desks and corridors be the same as my experience of myself once I have reached home? Will what seemed so normal here cause me to feel disoriented and out-of-place as I try to ease back into what I knew?
The distance between two moving points tells little about their distance from the start. These trees and this sky, the flags and license plates and colors of faces have all become such implicit assumptions. I’m excited to play with them, to see them change. I just find myself unable to fathom how and what that process will be.