By this time next month, we would no longer be in Luanda. We would be in our temporary home in Paris. Our Angolan adventure is almost over and there are still many things to do before time runs out on me. D reminded me yesterday that despite all our hopes and wishes to impart knowledge to the people, to this place, this continent, we are the ones being taught. How to take things slower, how to live with frustrations, how to keep the faith, how to be thankful when we have water that flows from the tap, electricity & generator that run 24-7, roof that doesn’t leak and money to buy food.
There are plenty memories of bleak moments. But my fondest would forever surround our morning routine of boiling water, using pot to pour warm water over H, so that he could wash up before going to work. H called this our camping time, when water was scarce and electricity was intermittent. Oh, we laugh about it now. There is a tinge of pride whenever we recall those moments, that we survived those and came out stronger and closer and more committed to each other. If there’s any take away from my time here, it is this: Angola did good for our marriage.
Then there were countless time spent on soul searching, testing and grappling with what I want to do and how to fill my days. To fill it wisely with activities that do good for my soul, with things that will not compromise who I am but a step closer to who I want to be.
It was liberating at the beginning before it became a source of frustration, trying to define who I am in a world where the money I bring home is a big measurement stick. And finally it turned into a source of contentment, that at last I had the luxury to discover new things and actually did something just because I could afford the time and the energy.
Angola changed and shaped me, there’s no doubt about it. The question has always been how long, how far I would walk away with every good change that has happened upon the person I am.
We, human, always have fear, haven’t we? Fear of tomorrow, fear of failures, fear of the unknown. I suppose I should feel relieved for leaving this place behind, that I’m returning to life that I used to know. Yeah, there is that. And there is also this deep intake of breath, squaring of shoulders, stiffening of spine before I step away from a place that I call home for the past 2.5 years.
To everything and everyone I’m about to leave behind, to everyone who has left before me, I hope our paths will cross again soon. The world is only that big.
And maybe one day, H & I will return to Angola.
Maybe I’m crazy.
Or maybe I’m not.