July 24th, 2013
I am home.
Or a home of sorts. The home in the USA for now.
I am at my grandparents in Minneapolis. The one house that has stayed in my life and family consistently. So it is a home for me. A touch down, a safety zone. As my grandfather would say, “It's Minnesota, it's like comfort food.”
Boy, is he right. I feel like I am on some weird vacation. I can wear shorts and clothes that I like. People generally leave me alone (when I say generally, I mean strangers, not friends and family,)
I can eat good food to my liking. I can sleep in. I can use a washer and dryer for my laundry at my leisure as well as showers. I can move. Its a different kind of freedom I have so easily forgotten.
But with this freedom comes responsibility.
This is the scary part, the part that does not feel like a vacation. This responsibility weighs on me like that overweight carry-on I just hauled all across Israel/Palestine, Europe and the US.
My shoulders small and bony as my year in service work brought me to a whole new level of anxiety; loss of sleep and appetite over months at a time affecting me even in my appearance. My shoulders, now small, struggling to balance out the weight of this new responsibility and the weights being lifted from the old responsibilities.
Questions flood my gray matter as I rapidly jump to questions of; Where do I even begin? Will they recognize me even though I've changed? Will they care about what I have to say? Where is the closest donut shop? Do I have to eat with a utensil at every meal?
I hear a woman run by my bedroom window here in South Minneapolis. Her overpriced, but supportive and I am sure fashionable running shoes hit the cement sidewalk as she paces her way to some new level of exertion and self-improvement.
Will I be able to join her someday, hitting the pavement? Or will my mind flash to images of my mothers and sisters in Palestine who could barely catch a moment of breath to fix their hair let alone take 20-40min out of there day to go for a run (something completely unheard of).
The lack of constant harassment has me reminding my heart to slow down whenever a young man, or any man that is, is in my presence.
There's no guns,
Accept my 250 Savage gently sleeping in its camouflaged patterned casing. Locked away only to be brought out come hunting season. The weird softness to a mere-hunting rifle in comparison to the harsh reminder the black stock of an M-16 brings.
These cultural differences. These old responsibilities; running out to the bus, skin never showing as I made sure I was covered head to toe even in the blazing heat of the Middle East. Running to catch the bus at whatever random time it has decided to appear just as long as I get somewhere.
The hum-drum of multiple languages surrounding you in any public place where one can find a sort of solace. The market places and haggling. This price-tag thing has me thrown for a loop. The quiet. The lack of people.
Yes it was only a year. Eleven and a half months to be exact, but it still left a life-long impact and these new responsibilities that I face. All I can do is hope and pray for gentleness from society, from family and friends as I feel out, new/old experience, with touch. Blindfolded it feels, because I have no clue where I am headed.
Blindfolded, but somehow guided.
I believe in doubles on clocks, it's a strange thing. I am not superstitious really, but kind of in my own way.
When I see a clock displaying double digits such as: 11:11am or something, I make a wish. I wish for anything and everything.
It's a childish practice, but one that has been so prevalent in my recent adventure. In Israel/Palestine I would catch the sight of the clock just in passing. Flashing digits displayed on one of the many buses, computers, school wall and phones. Lucking out as I always glanced at it in a moment of doubles.
I had a secret childish fear in coming back to my home country in thinking I would stop seeing so many doubles like I did in Israel/Palestine.
But I haven't, I have seen a lot. One could argue that maybe I search for them, but the truth is I am way to damn ADHD to be capable of that.
Blindfolded, but somehow guided. “Blinded by the light......” Yes a number or things come to mind in this time and Bruce Springsteen is one of them, but only for a moment.
A River Runs Through It being one of my favorite books and films, It impacted me greatly growing up in Montana. Grabbed at a young age by Maclean's poetic ism as he described my childhood playground.
I think of everything merging into one like the rivers I so often fished and floated in. The water's Maclean so delicately wrote about. That's what these responsibilities and experiences must do. They must merge...
“Eventually, all things merge into one, and a river runs through it. The river was cut by the world's great flood and runs over rocks from the basement of time. On some of the rocks are timeless raindrops. Under the rocks are the words, and some of the words are theirs.
I am haunted by waters.”
The people, the relationships, the experience, the people now, this place I am in now, the relationships I am returning too. They all take a part in this dance of water, stones and time.
Last night as I went to purchase a phone plan and phone, a smart phone at that (a big step for me). My grandpa and I were driving back along Lake Nokomis. My hands awkwardly placed on the wheel, anticipating every curve and bump as I drove for the first time in a bout a year.
He said to me, “Annela, this is a milestone and it can be a part of you. You have a lot from this, so start dreaming...”
I don't know where to start.... but my mind wanders to another piece of writing from Norman Maclean,
“Either we don't know what part of ourselves to give or, more often than not, the part we have to give is not wanted. And so it is those we live with and should know who elude us. But we can still love them - we can love completely without complete understanding.”
Love. Good place to start.
People I missed and can't wait to be with...
-Cousin Nestor eating his Falafel sandwich :)
-My niece Brynn and brother Leif
-My sister Suvi and me
-My other sister Meli and me <3