Home. Ever since I moved out of my parents house for college that four plus some years ago, my sense of home has been off and harder to put my finger on. My imagining of home has been shifty—it’s spatial, social, and most notably temporal—informed largely by my own complicated feelings of nostalgia. Home, in all it’s figurative and literal warmth is a thing I’ve made from afar.
In the fiercest moments when I hated La Jolla as a heart broken 17 year old, home was a tree on a playground at Mariposa Elementary where I used to sit and write love songs in Redlands’ dry heat. Or lying in bed next to my sisters who told me that it would make sense some day. When I moved to Berkeley that first summer, I lived alone in a mostly empty apartment that I sublet from a friend—a twenty minute walk from campus in the dark after my film class let out at night, a dinner for one, spotty internet—I’d watch a heavy rotation of the same five DVDs over and over and wonder if my dream of going to Cal was worth giving up walking the sands at Blacks and withstanding long distance relationships with my best friends for the rest of college. My sense of home has always rested in distant hearts and feels.
Being back in Tanzania this time in particular, however, has felt a little different. When I’m out in the field, I live in my own house. It’s in a ward forty-five minutes outside of Arusha called Kikwe, in a village called Maweni. I have no electricity. I have an out-house style bathroom in which one must squat, concentrate, and exhibit an excellent understanding of geometry to hit the mark. I spend afternoons walking around the ward to visit my volunteers’ teachings or listening to music while reading on my porch. Instead of dodging eye contact like I do back in California, I greet everyone that passes by and we exchange as much conversation as my variety of gesticulations and limited Swahili vocabulary allows. Night comes around and the view of the stars from from the corn fields that surround the house is so beautiful that I’m doing violence to them right now because language can’t adequately describe the feel of them. I know a lot of this doesn’t sound like real life, but for small moments, I’m arrested by an unmistakable sense of “this is where you are right now.” I’m present. Staring at them is about the only time I’m able to find some quiet inside of a mind so accustomed to long. Home.
- illegibleaddress reblogged this from uprootedandrelentless
- thiswaytoimagination said: That “arrested moment” is something I’ve always loved — when your own sense of self feels it can write whatever it wants over your life and experiences. I’m glad you get to experience it there. It seems like where I am the city suffocates it.
- uprootedandrelentless posted this