Skating dangerously close to a full-on emotional crash... been playing too hard and too constantly without a break, I guess. Yeah yeah, I know. It's a rough life.
Julie and Mark skipped out to visit Ureki Beach again today. I begged off, very honestly citing exhaustion. Last night the three of us met up with new friend and fellow volunteer Pierre, and went to have some drinks at Pierre's friend George's apartment. Lots of fun, vodka, dancing and general shenanigans. I crashed at Julie's house, after I realized it was midnight and I still wasn't home. My family would have definitely locked me out by then, and I have yet to receive a key despite asking.
Not a bad night by any stretch, but George's decidedly bachelor apartment, the random hijinks, and subsequent inability to return to my own home left me feeling distinctly off my game today. (Well okay, not my own home my definitely my own room. I pay my family a monthly fee to be here, and am quite annoyed at the consistent hindrances to my being able to act like a fully-functional 31-year-old adult.)
I chose to walk home from Julie's this morning, instead of taking a cab. Back in America, an hour-long walk immediately after waking, and following a night of drinking, would have been utterly unacceptable. Here, the long daily walks seem to just come along as a matter of course. I walked in the sun of a clear summer day, Natalie Merchant's "Carnival" playing in my head. There are times when the very foreignness of this place seems to rise up around me. All the vendors and the dealers, a spectacle of wealth and poverty. My skin is crying out for one touch of familiarity -- perhaps a mimosa on the porch -- a mimosa so dry it's barely orange and served in an actual champagne glass. The Washington Post's sports page open in front of me as I look for the one tiny article that will actually address hockey's goings-on in the off-season, maybe catching up on the Nationals. I hear they aren't doing too badly this season so far. I'll miss my couple of games at the ballpark this summer.
Perhaps I have simply reached critical mass on too much of a good thing. The summer job teaching the police started this week, and is going well. Three days a week, 4 hours a day. Even with prep and grading and what not, the empty hours of the day stretch farther than I can fill them. I cannot remember the last time my days were so routinely free of purpose or responsibility. It leaves me wandering aimlessly, looking for distraction. Usually that distraction takes form in the shape of a beer on a cafe table. I'm sure that from where you sit it looks as though I have precious little to complain about. But I do wish Poti had a little more to offer than places to spend my money on alcohol. It would be nice to see a movie, for instance. Or even be able to mail my damn postcards.
I am so very far from home. And there is so little in my daily life that bears any resemblance whatsoever to the life I had before. The strangeness sometimes becomes a little much.
As I write this, it is 9:30 on Saturday morning back home. Today my family -- my sister, father, mother, and pup -- will arrive in Bremen, Maine after spending a few days in New Jersey visiting family. They are probably getting on the road just about now, in fact. They will drive north, crossing New York and New England, and over the Piscataqua River Bridge. I remember so eagerly awaiting this bridge when I was little. It meant our 14-hour, 2-day car trip was finally drawing to a close -- we were almost there.
I want to be with them so much it makes my chest constrict and my fingers stiffen. Just now I went on Google Maps and looked up Turner Road. The tiny island where their cabin is on Pemaquid Lake, just offshore from a narrow strip of land that divides the Lake from McCurdy Pond. In between that last paragraph and this one, I attempted to shake off the melancholy through a bike ride to the Black Sea. Odd to be staring at one body of water and wishing so hard for it to be another one. Especially since, six months ago, I wanted to see the Black Sea more than any other body of water in the world.
But even then, I knew there were going to be times like these. Homesickness. Riding a rough ocean tonight, and not a thing I can do about it but batten down the hatches and wait it out. Ironic that what I'm missing isn't even "home" at all. But homesickness isn't really about the place after all, is it? They should call it people-you-love-sickness. But that doesn't really roll off the tongue nearly so well.