This is the first night of “unwinding” I have had in about three weeks, and I decided to check the Atlas Corps blog to see what my classmates are saying. Coming across Hakim’s, I immediately texted and then called when I was assured he was awake. He was as cool as ever about his culture shock episodes; he remains plain adventurous and keen on learning and adapting to whatever he comes across this year.
It pains me to see people go through culture shock, maybe because I’ve never had any severe episodes, but I instantaneously become protective. I especially feel this way about Hakim, because he has treated me like a sister from day 1. What you hear on the news about Sudan and South Sudan having fighting fits is something, but the bond that runs in our blood is too strong for the political turmoil to penetrate.
Am I in culture shock? Not really.
I was in the office today thinking: ahhh, I need a cupcake, these grapes aren’t giving me enough sugar to counteract the apartment-hunting stress.
A few minutes later, a colleague walks by and starts asking about Sudan first, then we switch to talking about traveling and I inquire about her traveling with her children (fun after all). Then she randomly says: it’s fascinating how you seem very comfortable and in your element, thousands of miles away from home.
That “home” notion again.
I don’t have a “home” per se (well, I’d like to, so I hope the leasing company processes my papers quickly and clears me for my favorite apartment in the West Coast)…
But I digress.
After living in six countries in 25 years, the traditional notion of home is incomprehensible to me. So, to romanticize this post (yes, even further) home is where my loved ones are and that’s pretty much everywhere. So for all of us away from home and all things familiar (a recurring theme) let’s strive to embrace the reality and live it out one day at a time. Maybe keep a “home-ly” trinket somewhere close by. I made the mistake of bringing nothing to remind me of Sudan, but I asked a friend to bring me a toub next time he’s in town. Just a plain toub to wrap around when I want to think of our stunning Blue and White Niles, the dust on the streets of Omdurman and the overwhelming kindness of my people.
Here is a picture of someone’s tattoo describing how I usually feel, I hope he’s okay with me using it (will not say who- just in case he is not!).
Where is home to you? What is home to you?