Today is exactly 2 months away from the day we leave for Kansas City. That’s crazy. I guess I feel like the curtain is closing. The final act. It’s strange, it’s difficult, it’s sad, it’s exciting, it’s everything all at once. How many emotions can a person process at once before it all become I35 at rush hour, a mess of jumbled thoughts going all sorts of directions, pulling you left and right, twirling you around in a hurricane of images.
An example: Just last night I finished a book of the Johnstown Flood in the 19th century. I closed the book, remembering a road trip I took from Austin to Michigan to New York and back. I remember the area described in the book. When they talked about the rolling hills, the mines, the streams and hills covered in green, I knew that I passed that area the same time as Detroit was closing it’s factories because all of New England was in a blackout. My bookmark is a Zimbabwe 10 Dollar bill. I held it in my hand and remembered the football match in Victoria Falls, meeting John and Paolo, drinking beers in the local establishment, being scared out of our wits by the sheer desperation of the country. Then I look out the window across Mendoza and start thinking about when Erin and I first put maps in our KC apartment and said, “how do we even start?”
If the question of starting was difficult and overwhelming, the question of how to end is equally so, perhaps more. The question of how to start was back in 2006. Erin’s little sister, Maura, was barely in high school, and we were planning a trip to come back for graduation in 2010. That’s like planning a trip today that will end in 2014. Where’s the World Cup going to be in 2014? Who knows? That’s how far away the end was when we started. The end was like chasing a rainbow. It was so far away, what’s the point of even talking about it. It’s over there, not here, not now.
Well, 4 years later, it is here, it is now. I’m trying to stay focused on enjoying my time in Mendoza, but it’s tough. My mind is elsewhere, it seems. It’s on it’s slow journey back to the world that we left in January of 2008, over two years ago. The world of familiarity. It’s as if we’ve been running from what is comfortable, what we know, what we’ve spent our lives knowing. That was never the purpose, the purpose was to run toward what was new, what was different, what was unexpected, something to surprise us and change us from the inside. We found it, we were changed by what we found. Now, though, we’re far from the things that used to comfort us. But we’re finding different things that are familiar and comforting. The familiarity of routine is wonderful. Seeing somebody you know on the street. It’s an incredible feeling, really, when you’ve been without it for so long. Yet I can’t fully commit to the familiarity of Mendoza because I’m leaving. In my mind, I’m already stepping away, mentally preparing to walk off the plane in Kansas City, hug my friends, live in Idaho, cook dinners with my sister and just marvel at being back in the circle of those I know and love.