Wed, October 1, 2008
Some nights, I have a clear recognition that being here feels an awful lot like being in Panama. The parallel is weird. There, I lived alone in a little house, surrounded by people who were very nice and liked me a lot, but didn't understand me even slightly. I don't mean the language barrier, either; oh, we got along just fine in our conversations. (Except a few hilarious and notable language errors on my part... *blush*). I worked hard, doing what I was set there to do, and did a good job. But I was so alien, in looks, concept, behavior and so on that there was just a gap that could never be bridged. I was tall, blonde and fair, rode a horse with the vigor of a man (women do not typically ride there; I had two horses), and extremely educated. I never flaunted any possessions and worked at living as close to their means as I could. The differences, though, they just could not be reconciled.
Whenever I could I would go to the city to meet up with other volunteers, so we could speak English and just have each other's company. I never really connected with anyone of them either. It was good to be with them, but it never truly eased the loneliness I felt- this was long before I met any of my tribe and learned who I truly am now. I just felt as if I were in suspended animation, exiled, waiting for some epiphany to guide me towards where I needed to be, who I needed to be.
Now, I live in my little apartment, surrounded by people who seem perfectly nice but want nothing to do with me (or each other). I work hard, doing what I have set out to do; doing what they require of me, and more, so that I can be the vet I want to be, without complaint. People at work are nice, but they don't get me at all. I am often the butt of some very good natured teasing, but it is teasing based on things that seemed so normal where I came from and are now so out of place that people can't help but comment on it. My relationships to people are, therefore, based on being a mentor or mentee, held at arm's length and considered 'strange but sweet'. No one wants to get too close. To be fair, I have no real desire to be close to anyone I work with; but my life consists of work, work, and hang out at my apartment.
What a parallel. What an odd and aching parallel. I was very mixed in Panama, psyched to be there doing what I was doing, living the dream. But I was melancholy all the time, lonely as hell and wishing for my tribe, for company, for a kindred soul. And now here I am, a woman wiser and older, finding the same melancholic pall hanging over my shoulders as I find myself once again alone in exile. Yes, I put myself here as I placed myself in Panama. I am here to do what I am doing, and I am glad for it. Still, after four years of vet school sacrifice and loneliness brought on by long hours buried under books, I have forgotten what it is like to have a friend who just pops by for a visit. Wow! That would be so amazing.
It feels bittersweet now, but the winter is coming. Winter is always hard for me. When there is snow and free time, friends and blankets and hot chocolate, I manage just fine. I cross country ski, relish in the snow on the trees as I whoosh through the woods... but there is none of that here, not aplenty as there was in MA. There is not as much snow here, I am told. Just grey, and cold. I worry. I need some good friends.
I'm quite grateful for the friends I *do* have. The bonds have not weakened with distance; I have been able to speak on the phone, and via email to many. It warms my heart. I appreciate every thought that comes my way; I spend time when I am driving long hours thinking of those I have left up north. The wonderful women I am only just getting to know, and sadly have left. Oh! I can't reconcile it, it's too hard. Damn! I think sometimes.
Well, I chose this. I chose to be here, and dedicate myself to this year of study and work. I can go anywhere in the world as of next July, and I am called to warmer weather. And kindred folk who understand me. I want to be where it is not so odd to be vegetarian, to eat spinach, to drink smoothies everyday, to dance with fire, bellydance and be a witch. To be me.