Sunday, January 9, 2011
Here, It's Where I Am.
Tonight I walked my two favorite little gals to their grandma's house not only because the lack of moonlight made it a spooky journey for a 5 and 10 year old, but because I hadn't seen their grandma, Zainaba (I call her Mama Zai Zai) since I'd been back. We sat outside on the straw mat, her facial features obscured by the bright light of the bare bulb overlooking the yard, made brighter by the contrast of its singular ray against the humid night air. Yes, my family is good and well, I said. Yes, my mom was very happy to have me home. Yes, I am tired after travelling for 3 days. In fact, I couldn't fall asleep until 3 o'clock this morning, I'd said. "I don't think it's the time difference, Sara. You can't stop thinking of your homeland," she told me. It's now 3:34 AM and after finishing up season 5 of LOST, reading some of my last-minute airport book purchase, tossing, and turning I made a final attempt at being lulled to sleep. Laying here in the shadow of a simple day puncuated by the bright hues of the Mozambican color palette, my favorite songstress strums away and yet all I can conjure is the need to be a part of her words by smithing some of my own. Much as I'd like to blame the jetlag, I must admit that Mama Zai Zai was right: I can't stop thinking about you, America, and how spectacular, overwhelming, demanding, easy, grandiose and frigid you are. You amaze me, friend, because if I want a bag of ruffled potato chips with french onion dip and an a nacho cheese chalupa with two soft tacos at 2:19 AM I can have it. You frighten me, America, because you move so quickly and to the beat of a drummer who only resides on your side of the world. You keep me im awe, America, because of your new-fangled smart phones and internet technologies that can videochat from NYC to LA whilst making you a 5 course meal. You sadden me, America, because you don't know your neighbors or your shopkeeper or maybe sometimes even your brother or your sister. You overwhelm me, America, what with your 600 TV channels, 29 kinds of coffeedrink, invasion of must-see viral videos and overload of stimuli. Yet you soften me, America, with your infinite different groups of people and your having something for everyone. And you make my heart weep, America, because without you I wouldn't be a segment of the beautiful greater whole that is my friends and family. But alas, now I find myself here again, in this hot, stinky town away from you, America, and it'll be awhile before we meet again. I awoke at 1:00 PM today, a time entirely unheardof to wake up to here, a time by which all locals have completed a 3 page list of chores and made dinner for the family, and a time chosen by me so that I may postpone the reality that I am here again, away from you. But today I woke up and there was a baby at my door. Soon to follow were more giggling and squealing goobers who couldnt wait any longer to say good morning. Soon after was my walk down the beach, to which I was greeted with handshakes and where-have-you-beens. The water was murky but warm like a bath, and I ordered the same thing off the restaurant's menu but my friends were there to spice it up. Lobsters were purchased afterwards and served, with fresh cashew fruit for dessert. A rastaman sporting Selaisse on his shirt grabbed my hand and genuinely thanked me for doing what I'm doing here. My Portuguese is a tad rusty but I can still hold my own in Makua. So, Mozambique, you give a little and you take a little. You can piss me off, Mozambique, but you're doing the best that you can. You're hot as hell, Mozambique- humidity as thick as a sheet. But I can breathe here, because even though you're not my real home, you march to the beat of a drummer on vacation.