I like to write. I do it a lot.
But lately, every time I sit down to my journal, a letter, this blog… I find myself, ten minutes later, staring into space having written nothing. I get lost in thoughts of possible futures and the recent past. I can’t commit to paper thoughts and ideas I have, partly because they are constantly changing and partly because some of them seem so permanent it scares me.
Last week, my host brother caught me in this state, pen to paper but eyes to the brown hills behind our house. “Where are you right now,” he asked me, “Costa Rica or the US?” I stared at him a minute, then answered, “Both places. Strange, huh? The mind is weird.” He agreed, “The brain is strong. You could be walking through the door of your house there, you could go to your bed or the fridge. You could go wherever you want, and five minutes later be back here.” I nodded. “Yeah, it’s weird. But it’s good,” I told him. He nodded back, “It’s good, but it will also bring you sadness.”
Everything here that makes me smile immediately makes me sad, because the smile is so genuine and its cause soon to vanish. “Live in the moment.” “Here and now.” Normally that is what I do. But for some reason it is much more difficult these days.
And yes, I am excited to go home. To see my family and my friends. To meet the nieces and nephews who were born since I’ve been here.
But I am going to be much different when I return. Please know that. And I know you will all be different, too. Two years is a long time. Please be patient with me. I will be in mourning of a sort. Please don’t judge me for peppering my speech with spanish. When I mention, for the 1000th time, that “In the Peace Corps we…” or that “In Costa Rica they…” please try not to roll your eyes. I promise I will not always suffer melancholy. My excitement upon seeing you will be real. But so, too, will be my ache for the people I have grown to love here, for the way of life I am now accustomed to. Alejandro’s smile, Sonieé’s sass, thunderous rain on a tin roof, the tranquility of a bus ride in the dark evening as a cool breeze pours through the window and the full moon illuminates the hills and lowlands of home.
Let’s be patient with each other. Let’s ask each other questions and tell each other stories. Let’s get to know each other again.
Let’s not rush it.