The past month has been everything and nothing and all the intangibles in between. It’s been confusing, uncertain, difficult, easy, and unfortunate. Yet in the end, it has been nothing but a blessing. In the end, nothing has been unusual. In the end, I am simply living.
It’s been a month since I’ve written, and now I must correct this grave error.
On the morning of the last day of September, we received a phone call from the university that set off a week of dramatic decisions and events. In short, bureaucratic circumstances led us to being strongly urged to leave Tanzania until legalities clear out for us to do proper research work with the necessary permits and people. In the meantime we would be supported to return to our homes. As such, during the first week of October we spent our time running around the city constantly checking our email, making phone calls, visiting travel agencies and airline companies, taking care of logistics and tending to financial matters. R and I got roundtrip tickets to Bangkok, Thailand – her to visit her parents, me to be with my aunt and uncle – while N returned to Nairobi, Kenya.
On Friday, October 6, I packed the bags that I had just fully unloaded a few days ago. I was leaving the bungalow that I had called home for over a month, uncertain of my date of return. Looking at the empty room, I didn’t quite know what to feel, or how to respond to the suddenness of it all.
We left for the Dar es Salaam airport in the evening and transferred flights in Nairobi to Bangkok. On the Kenya Airways flight to Hong Kong via Bangkok, I was already thrust into another world, one filled with Asians, more than I had seen throughout Tanzania. We arrived in Bangkok at the new international airport the following day before noon.
Yesterday afternoon I was conversing with our friends over a few bottles of Pepsi at the Salvation Army complex in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania.
Now I’m at a Chinese restaurant in Bangkok, Thailand. In front of me are platters filled with more variety than my entire stay in Tanzania. It feels great to be “home” with family. My cousin will be flying in from Singapore in two days, and my uncle will be coming from Ireland on Tuesday. Green tea and iced water replenishes my dehydrated body.
Later in the afternoon my aunt and I walk to the Saturday market to buy produce and meat for dinner. I don’t speak a word of Thai, I don’t look Thai, yet I feel at home. The market is refreshing; seeing so many appetizing vegetables and fruits is a delight. The chickens, fish, prawns, pork, beef, squid… all look fresh. Desserts, drinks, guava!
We eat mee siam for dinner, and I can’t stop smiling while I take all of the flavors of one of my favourite Malaysian dishes in.
Sunday church. Chinese lunch.
Dentist, shopping at paragon, food heaven, zara, home, heavy storm lightning and thunder, go swimming in it, flood, dinner, uncle sonny back after heavy traffic, two hour massage mama cracking fingers and toes, congee, home.