My journey back to the US was an emotional one for a miriad of reasons. When I reflect on it it’s more a collection of moments. Small snippets frozen in time.
The hugs. The whispered anger. The smiles full of pity. More hugs.
Dancing National Guard n00bs.
The smell of grass. What? Where did that come from? Is that even real?
The hugs, again. Hugs from people I’d assumed forgotten me. I’d forgotten that they might appreciate me in their life as much as I’d appreciated them.
The beer. Beer I didn’t even like but was still fantastic because it wasn’t the same selection as always. Drinking with strangers. Drinking with strangers that still knew my name somehow. Late night conversations.
Coming out as a necrophiliac. But not really.
Remembering that others have insecurities too and that they are just as silly as mine. Leaving a note for housekeeping.
Huskies. Watching a friend’s face light up. Sitting in the grass discussing the nuances of having to leave the ice. Grass. I didn’t even know I liked grass all that much. Regaining hope. Remembering again that peopel care. Hoping it’s real.
Eating at a cafe. How good a basic iceberg lettuce salad could taste. Sharing. Realizing I love water now. Realizing I don’t mind my own body hair anymore.
Walking in the
park botanical gardens. Sequioas. Seeing the largest trees I’ve ever seen in my life. Learning to whistle….finally! Bonding with ducks. Enjoying time in a strange country with people I barely know. The water. The pure joy of seeing a giant red hippo.
Magic in the land, as there was in Ireland. The circle bench around a tree. The throne tree.
The dancers, practicing hard. Helpful Uber drivers. Unexpected souveneirs.
Dinner with strangers that “had been looking forward to meeting” me. Sushi. Good sushi.
Deciding consciously to just leave my armpits alone for now.
Not remembering that red lights are “romantic” and automatically thinking of them as the blood/gore setting.
Making a phone call I’d been avoiding all week. Remembering again that people care. Unspoken words in elevators. No coffee. Scrapping notes to housekeeping. Being “the worst”. Failing cameras.
Walks around a sleeping city. Bonding with a homeless man. The pure joy of penis latte foam.
Not remembering how to order coffee. Watching the city wake-up. Seeing the beauty in the rebuilding. Finding that same homeless man again and waking him up because you didn’t think the chakra stones he had sitting out were heavy enough to hold the rest of your local currency you wanted to give him.
Watching the world pass by. Waiting on a bus. Struggles with poor customer service.
Relief from panic. Remembering that people have my back. Forgotten love that is tea with cream. Real cream. Thank you, Siobhan.
Love of backpacks. Love of hiking boots. Release from the need to spend money. Making new friends in a foreign country even though you’re leaving them in an hour. Coming to the realization that to you it was “only” 5 months in Antarctica but to everyone else that seems like a lifetime. Or, at least, a normal contract length.
Running into unexpected friends in another city.
The wind in Auckland. Oh boy. The wind. I could write an entire post just about the joy of the wind in Auckland, New Zealand. But I won’t. Laughter. Recharging.
The best calamari I have ever had to date: and it was at an airport. Simply decent pumpkin pasta.
Remembering that I can do anything.
Time to hit play.
(this photo and the cover image both by Stephen Allinger. I have some of my own I’ll post another time.)