It is no longer possible for me to avoid stating the obvious: my time in Uganda is drawing to an end. According to the countdown widget on my Mac, I have precisely 3 days, 10 hours, and 46 minutes until my plane takes off from Entebbe International Airport, commencing the twenty-four-hours-plus journey back to the states.
Clearly, as I have avoided blogging about my departure, I have some mixed emotions about leaving. This summer has been profoundly awakening and incredibly difficult; I don’t want to leave Uganda, but concurrently I am seriously craving an enormous, greeny salad and to have time to cuddle with my kittens and share space and love with my family. And, as I may have mentioned, this is my first summer away from my college friends. While emails and facebook messages make me abundantly grateful for the internet (no matter the speed), I have really been homesick for Mount Holyoke and all the wonderful, wonderful women I feel I’ve known for a lifetime already.
So, I have hot showers and Elmo’s Diner Greek Grilled Cheese with Chicken sandwiches and skype and riding my bike to the movie theatre to look forward to. But I also will be missing chappati cooking lessons with Rhoda, taking boda-bodas to craft markets and eating delicious cuisines of all kind. I will no longer wake up every day to see the gorgeous, boundless Ugandan sky, no more basin baths or mosquito nets or cups of tea shared with the Sisters or Bishop. Time will shift; appointments will be kept to the minute, meals held earlier in the day, and the Slowness and steeping of moments like strong tea will begin to dissipate as I hurry to buy textbooks and pack up my postcard collection, scurrying to ready myself for a new semester.
It’s a bricolage of senses, of moments, of feelings. Having time and space to be alone will be most welcome; a spell for thinking and processing (and let’s be real, editing the hours upon hours of footage I’ve taken) will be healthy and renewing. Transitioning is not going to be easy. I wrote here, long ago, that my biggest fear for this summer was not contracting some horrendous tropical disease (been there, done that…sort of), bodily harm, or being homesick. My greatest fear was feeling like a stranger in my own skin upon my return to the US. Being so changed, so molded and formed I no longer fit anywhere- a child of two homes, two hearts. Forgive my clichés, but the worry is still knotted, contracting and pulling and I’m doing my best to quell, to que sera, to c’est la vie.
A friend and mentor of mine, a woman who knows more intimately than I the difficulty of living in two places in your heart, once gave me some very practical advice pertaining to traveling in Uganda: put yourself in the hands of someone you trust, and let go of your own agenda. They will take you where you need to be, when you need to be there.
As in many gifts given so freely to me here, this piece of wisdom is one I treasure. It is applicable beyond the realm of the pragmatic, and in this vein I can only hope and pray that in my letting go all will be okay- lost at sea or up in the clouds, wherever the road my lead.
current jam: ‘turn, turn, turn’ the byrds
best thing in my life right now: chappati lessons! rhoda has been teaching me, and as i video’d the whole thing (like you’re surprised!) i am fairly certain i shall be able to make a decent ugandan chappati once back in the states! a taste of home at home.