How much is four weeks out of two years?
No need to do the math. The answer isn’t really important, nor is the question. Though the thought floats in and out of my head quite frequently. Im sure thoughts like that will fade as I continue to settle in to what I how call life as I know it. I think its all just part of, dun dun dun… the adjustment period. Not my favorite part of this whole journey but it has its purpose and Im trying to recognize that. The excitement of my ever changing schedule, everything being new and mysterious, most of that has faded and now Im in that place where the living in a foreign land for two years isn’t just something that would be “cool to do” but is my here and now, my reality. As I said, Uzbekistan is, and always will be a foreign land to me, I would think it would take allot longer than two years for a place so very different than where Ive spent my entire life living, up till now, to feel anything but foreign. Yes, an hour or two will go by without me thinking about home or about how this place I live in is not really ‘home’. But if I am to be completely honest, home is on the brain allot these days. But dont get it twisted, I dont want to ‘be home’ right now, I dont wish I was anywhere else but here. I think this is hard to put into words so Im sure I will use many to try and explain. Even through the first weeks here at my permeant site when I felt quite rocked by a good douse of culture shock in tandem with that realization I mentioned that this is my place in the world for a good chunk of time, even then, when home was constantly on the brain, it wasn’t as though I wanted to back my bags and call it quits. But I had, no, have, these overwhelming feelings of nostalgia for my life in America that comes in waves. Tidal waves. Simple things, like the routine that goes on in my parents house on a random sunny spring Sunday brought on by the sounds I hear outside in the neighborhood streets the second I open my window. Clear as day, I can find a memory in everything I do and see if I wanted to. My goal now is to remember that I need to work on living in the present. Adjustment period is nearing its end, I can feel it. Routines are starting to mold, the pit toilet and lack of access to a phone that actually works is life. Im still having conversations with myself constantly either about how ‘wowed’ I am about something very Uzbek or just out of frustration when I cant communicate as well as Id like to. Which is sure to continue until the day I leave here.
Its like after a break up with a fantastic love. When the timing just wasn’t right, maybe you just weren’t ready yet and you feel the need to spread your wings. You hopefully grow and gain perspective when out of your element and after a while you forget all the reasons you didn’t want to be there anymore and only remember, and relive in your mind the pleasant and wonderful things about it. Funny how your memory does that seemingly all on its own. Time and absence can, if you will it so, make you recognize, contemplate, gain perspective and appreciate. Things can never go back to the way they were, rightfully so, but with a new outlook, maybe things could be even better. Always the undercover optimist, I know Ill go back to my relationship with the good ol’ US of A. Its home, its family. And for me, in order to try and assure that I will not slip into a delusional view of what it means to be an American in this crazy world, past, present and future, I am glad that I am taking this substantial time away to make sure of it. I guess I saw no other way to get where I want to be, where ever that my be. And for now, its comforting to have all those nostalgic feelings to snuggle up to when everything seems so, well, foreign.
Last thought, heard this line in a movie I watched the other day and I liked it so much, made me feel so good, that I wrote it down. Goes like this…
“…not all who wander are aimless. Especially those who seek truth. Beyond tradition. Beyond definition. Beyond the image.”