Balance and Coming Home

I’m coming home soon — and the ache is heavy upon my heart. For one, I don’t want to leave. For second, I really really have to leave. I have come to treat my family here like family… and we fight a lot and get upset in true Yoruba fashion. I am sad to leave this experience and most of all scared at what I’ll do with it. But something I’ve been thinking about lately is finding balance. The point of a trip like this should never be to run away or think back on it as an escape from the dreary present. The point is to let it inform my life and how I move forward in this world. And that it will I think. 

But the point was never to cut myself off from my home or to drown myself in “Nigeria” but to learn and be quiet for a while and listen – to something different than my own and take from it some small envies of mine to carry with me to the next place. And that I have I think. 

It’s been a messy and loving nearly four months. Six if you count studying in Florida. Yoruba has taught me, among other things, to release ownership of my own future. In Yoruba you cannot have possession over abstract things — you cannot have love, kindness, etc. It has taught me to let go of things, and to see the world, time, etc. differently. It has also taught me how to process in a culture so RADICALLY different from my own, get used to how time seems to not be a thing here, interactions are so completely different, and personal space/objects don’t exist. I’ve tried to immerse myself as fully as possible but I’ve never forgotten my home.

I think sometimes of gray skies and coffee and cold soil. I think of mountains on the horizon, the breathe of ice-cool fall air, the stretching figure of douglas firs, pea-coats, vinyl, and long walks along the pier. And it doesn’t make me homesick, it just has changed me slightly, a longing for your home, a longing for where you are, and most importantly a longing for places I’ve never been.

I will miss Danfos, warm clay mud between my toes, uneven pavement, greetings, warm smiles, and breaking out into fighting or signing – hard to predict which. It’s been a good amount of time I think. I’m excited to move on, and sad to leave. Bittersweet – but balanced. 

Anyway so in last two weeks (AHHHHHH) stories: 

1. I’ve now been featured in TWO national newspapers! I would give you them but they aren’t in English…

2. I’m currently writing a 15 page paper IN YORUBA about how the absence of western philosophy in the foundations of African thinking makes us the west fundamentally unable to understand a lot of African culture. Eefin ni arojinle – Philosophy is like smoke. 

3. HILARIOUS. Came home the other night to my host father listening to Lady Gaga outside with a bottle of whiskey. He said he’d offer me and my friend some… but he finished the whole bottle! Cheerfully he made us take his half bottle of “red wine” (actually grape schnapps)  instead before pouring some of it into his whiskey glass and sayings “yummm!” … Hilarious agbalagba fun. 

4. My “classes” have completely fallen apart. The teachers just watch Yoruba films all day. Time is like this fluid beast no one dares attempt to tame into manageable blocks of useful measurement anymore. 

5. I basically just sit around eating egg-buns and suya all the time now. I’m getting fat. And happy.

6. I come home in almost two weeks now! I miss America. It’s really a fantastic place. Then off again to Sri Lanka in about a month and a half. Couldn’t be more excited. 

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