Gallivanting can make settling down remarkably hard. The kind of settling down when you physically sit down and don’t move for a while. But as summer officially winds down and I return to Harvard for my senior year, I know that I’ll have to recall how to stay put…at least for a while :)
My time in Geneva came to an end just as August was at it’s beginning. It was that full, relentless hot August that ushered me back to Dulles International Airport as my parents welcomed me home just one day before my 21st birthday. In the time since I had last seen them, a little more than two months had gone by that had me thinking a great deal about what this upcoming year means in the course of my life, and having conversations that I know will continue to figure into my plans as I figure out the way I want (and hope) my 20s to unfold. But I just turned 21, so–thank goodness–we have a ways to go.
More than anything else, I’d have to say that this summer was–though unexpectedly–about family. It was a mix of discovering the land of chocolate & cheese while also finding Sri Lanka outside of Lanka. Plenty of European adventures were to be had while I still felt the weight of the problems (and solutions) that plague public health professionals on a day-to-day basis at the WHO. Rewind to my first day and I remember feeling memories of Mexico flooding back to me as soon as I landed in Geneva because–once again–I was in a foreign place that I would call home for another episode in my rapidly changing life. But at the same time, that is where many of the similarities stopped.
It’s been a long time. And I’ve missed landing my thoughts here. I think that, much like Inesha, sometimes it becomes difficult for me to figure out what to say when there is just so much to say. Since the last time I wrote, I’ve left Geneva. I’ve turned 21 years old. I’ve learned about the strength of relationships old and new. I’ve had plenty of my mom’s Sri Lankan food (and it probably shows) :). I’ve gone bike riding with my little sister on neighborhood streets that look different to me each time I come back here. I’ve gotten into a water balloon fight and then had to drive home soaking wet. I’ve spent quality time with my family (which includes many more than just the 5 of us). I’ve read a few good books (which are all, thankfully, still dry). And in two days, I’ll head back to Harvard for my senior year. It’ll be my first/last day of school and though I’ll do my best to soak it all in, I know I’m missing that too–even before it has even begun. But here’s to a senior year of college that I hope will remind me how to reminisce before all the reminiscing need be done. Holding on to memories can be so hard when they’re flying past all the time, but even before the days of snapchat, instagram, facebook and twitter, I know I found a way to do it.
I’ve been trying to write these past few days but the process is slow and grueling and really quite unproductive. I keep waiting for my thoughts to actually get out and show themselves but they are still stuck somewhere deep down inside. The act of writing is usually my means for sorting through them, making them fit together into sentences gives them a sense of coherence, structure. But here, I am utterly incapable of doing so.
I caught myself wondering this morning why exactly this was. And then I realized that my writing is about wrestling. It’s about confronting discomfort. But here I am really quite comfortable. Here where we still eat dinner in bed. Because. Where it is perfectly acceptable to have hot butter fried cuttle fish and fries with a sundae on top for dinner. Where they still call me baba even though I’m pretty sure the real world has started calling me an adult. Because. Where I can stay in my PJs. All.day.long. Just reading, sometimes. Here, where there is the comfort of AC & the passenger seat. Not having to drive everywhere – figuratively, of course – has reminded me just how exhausting this having to drive always can be.
There are moments of discomfort. Don’t get me wrong. Like when Sunitha and I sit on the edges of a conversation, I trying to converse in a tongue she knows not and her in a tongue I only knew so well very long ago. We are careless with our words though. We toss them around. I start a sound. She finishes it. She makes a move. She makes some hand signals. We figure it out. We move along. There is no stringing together of words. There are just words. For things. That we use. When we need to.
But that’s the problem really. Because what I need now – to write that is – are my words. The right words. Fat words, skinny words, words with other words inside of them. Really, any words will do. As long as they’re my words.
I’m still looking for them.
*But until then, these image will do. Of my life, lately.
“I get lost sometimes
like everybody else
lose track of my lifelines
lose track of myself
and there’s all kind of reasons
to be scared and run away”
There are many miles between each town we visit and so I have some time to think. To stare at the hills. The mountains. The muddied grass turned brown in the heart of winter.
On the road, you can see life pass you by in a way that you just can’t when you’re in the middle of it, living it.
And so it’s made me think about this blog. How a lot of what I throw out to this space are the moments I want to write down, how a lot of those moments are the happy ones, the rays of light that shine through. I have a selection bias you could say. But that doesn’t mean that there aren’t low points. Moments when I think to myself, wait, what exactly am I doing here?
For such an austere exterior, the World Trade Organization (WTO) is one of the more beautiful buildings I’ve been in here.