One of the distinct disadvantages of moving around all the time is the period where you have to adjust to all the changes that have happened while you were gone.
Nelson Mandela once said
There is nothing like returning to a place that has remained the same to find the ways in which you yourself have altered
I wonder though, if things always totally remain the same. Each time I come back to a place I have lived for a certain amount of time I find I have a tough time fitting back in. Your life has to completely adjust to what was at that time . You have to adjust to customs, dangers and realities.
I just came back to El Salvador after some serious soul-searching, realizing that the best thing for now is to go back where I have some family. But the return has not been simple as a lot of my friends have now left El Salvador. It is also hard to get back to the habit of not walking at night, of not being able to move around as freely as I did in Europe. That’s the thing though. I always feel like wherever I am , I feel like I miss the place I was before . I tend to have selective amnesia or in the words of How I met your mother ” graduation glasses” , as in a sense of tinged nostalgia of what Once Was. I forget what IS.
It is at times hard as well when people do not want to know your experiences you have had in other countries, and feel only an interest in anything that has to do with where they live. But what happens when your accumulated experiences , your life stories , your vision has been realized somewhere else?
What happens when you cannot speak of the feeling of walking through the Prado Museum and seeing the Guernica, or the Thames river eating sushi and watching the moonlight drip over the river… Or the color of eyes that one of the gypsy girls who went to the children class, or the sound of the flamenco guitar , or the strange dialects, or different friends from diverse lands I met along the way. The taste of Ehtiopian food, and how long you have to walk to get to the Gaudi buildings. What people are like in different places, the friends you made in Portugal and all these different places.
But mostly, people do not want to hear this. Some from Europe are not interested in Latin America, and some from Latin America are not interested in Europe. They grow tired of these stories… and what can a writer offer other than stories?
So I grow used to listening to their stories, and seeing their lives, and reconnect in this way. Because true souls, even if change has happened, will continue on, and if they do not, well I hope that we meet in the Next Life.
A guy from high school told me some wise words on my yearbook ” LIfe has it’s turns that are unexpected, you better buckle your seatbelt for the ride”. It’s true.
unfortunately, when we leave places, some people DO forget you. SOme people DO grow out of your friendships. I can only hope that our roads will cross again.
I was always the one leaving . However, I never expected that on returning, I would find more and more desolate lands. I remember my two closest friends were sad about me leaving for France a couple of years back. ” I feel like, you are leaving… and everything is gonna change for good”. My best friend , whom I had been friends with since I was seven told me.
I thought at the time, that she was being silly, but really after that in 2006 , I went for a couple of months to France and came back to El Salvador and everything HAD changed. My best friend became engaged and moved away to Canada. My other friend, for reasons only known to her simply lost interest in our friendship and no longer bothers to keep in touch…although I hear she is getting married soon. Just like that, the trio was dissolved.
A blink of an eye.
And this has happened numerous times, albeit perhaps in more subtle ways. Friends who get married, friends who have children, people you are in love with whom no longer love you back. Family members who spend a lifetime without seeing you no longer bother to write.
This is the sadness of distance. Of being in a thousand places at once. And no matter how much I try, I feel like one thread or person falls away in different times. I can only hope that somehow, we will find our way back to each other.
Some people we love, after a long time of not seeing each other, realize we no longer have anything in common but nostalgia. Others were never really that close. Others simply are bright stars who you see in certain times and then they disappear.
But it’s simple, if your love was a true spiritual bond, you will see them again, somehow. And if not, they were there for a reason. Every person in our lives were there for a reason, and we should never forget that.
So tonight, I think of those 1000 of people who have passed through my life. Those that I laughed with, those that I cried with, those that I yelled at. Those that perhaps I do not know existed but love me, those that didn’t love me.
But all this, it is not important. What matters is that we are all connected, we all are growing together, we are all one body, one song, one heart. And I thank God for each and every one of them.