Thursday, March 25, 2010

here, home, and happiness

In all honesty, I'm a little nervous about my mother's upcoming visit.  It will be her first time in Africa, just as it has been for me.  What will she think of this place?  Of all those things that first struck me--the air pollution, the trash, the lack of street lamps at night--what will surprise her the most?  And after seeing it all, will she try to take me back home on the plane with her?

Because I want her to be comfortable, but it's impossible to shield her from the fact that the majority of taxis have no seatbelts and other details of "authentic" African life.

I've planned an extensive itinerary, but I'm also pretty sure we will not be following it to the letter.  That's how everything goes here.  Patience is not a virtue, but a necessity--especially in this city that gives you so many reasons not to hurry, not the least of which is the general nonchalance of the Senegalese people.  You walk slowly, you wait, you wonder--but you never worry.  Not in the way we do in the States, at least.  And my mother is a champion worrier.

And so Ousmane and I will meet her around 5am at the airport tomorrow, we'll come back to the house in Mermoz and nap, and then begin the day!  I probably won't post for a long time, since I'll want to be doing things with her, but when she returns home to the States and I return to school, I'll have many stories and photos to share.  And only a month and a half left in Senegal.  The time moves so, so fast.

Which reminds me of one more thing that I wanted to share.  It's another list, time time of Things at Home That I Day-Dream About. Here it is.

  • Driving home along quiet Vermont highways in May, with the windows rolled down and all the trees green and leafy.  The fresh air.
  • Clean feet.  Clean everything.
  • Riding my bike on the Danville backroads.
  • Eating a meal at a classic American diner that smells of coffee and serves breakfast all day long.
  • Whole wheat toast with apricot jam.  (And many more kinds of food, too: bagels with cream cheese, pesto pasta, salad with balsamic vinaigrette, grilled cheese with Cabot cheddar and goes on and on and on.)
  • Throwing all of my clothes in a laundry machine, adding detergent, and then waiting an hour before beautiful, clean-smelling clothes come out.
  • Seeing my family at the airport when I fly back to the States.
  • Reuniting with Calvin--somehow, somewhere in May, June, or July--and going to Lake Powell with him and his family.
  • Moving in to my sweet suite with Frances.
  • Seeing the garden.  Rhubarb especially.
It's not that I'm homesick--I'm not--but it's just that these ideas and images flash vividly through my mind while I'm here.  When people ask whether I could live and work in Senegal when I'm older, I have to admit--no, because where I'm from is too beautiful to leave forever.

Me, diving into Lake Willoughby.
Photo credit to my amazing mother.

No comments:

Post a Comment