I’ve been avoiding this blog since I returned to Am-ur-ica.
When you move, and you lose a climate, a language, all of the ‘extras’ in your life, and you gain traffic, gadgets, and an indescribable malaise that comes with this place… it is hard to integrate ‘here’ and ‘there.’
When I think of how much time I have spent ‘inside’ since I have arrived in America, it’s too overwhelming. The amount of ‘outside’ time in a given day seems to be miniscule. There are leaves falling, and the sunlight is growing less.
I stumbled into a soul food restaurant in Kansas City today with my Mom and I felt so relieved to be the odd one out again, to feel different in a crowd of people of a different skin color. I don’t know how to feel about that. It almost sounds kind of creepy. Sorry to be a white creep.
Small things though, like the banana trees that were in planters around the neighborhood, or the smell of some rare soul smoking a clove cigarette take me back to Timor. But there is really no integrating the two experiences.
The closest I came to feeling that I could be ‘here’ and ‘there’ at the same time was meeting Dulce’s brother in Union Square in New York. It was interesting because we started speaking in Tetum, and usually I am extremely sensitive about speaking a foreign language in an English-speaking setting. But this time I wasn’t self-conscious at all. Aderito and I sat drinking expensive beers, reminiscing about Timor and talking about life as one of the handful of East Timorese in America.
It was great for me to see Aderito so at home in New York, taking the gutter punks and unicyclists in stride. I wonder what of New York he will take back to Timor. (Although he’s looking to extend his time at NYU).
Soon I am leaving for Portugal, and I have been told that I should not continue writing in this weblog. One friend advised that it should be ‘like a novel’ that has an ending. But I’m inclined to write about life in Portugal. It really depends how I feel.
In the meantime I am going to post photos from my time in Timor, a link will appear on the menu above within the next week.