I received a letter today from my sister Karen. It totally made my day. (Coincidentally, a co-worker gave me a sweet note which was another, unexpected source of encouragement). The first thing I did, even before opening Karen's letter, was to smell the envelope. I think it was a subconscious attempt to experience the familiar scent of a loved one. Although my efforts were in vain, the mere act of holding onto something she had held made me feel more connected to her. It got me thinking about tangibility -there really is no substitute for it. Please understand: I appreciate the modern technology at my fingertips that enables me to communicate with you through blog posts and emails (and calls via Skype when I'm logged in). Aside from the convenience factor though, an email can't compete with an old-fashioned letter, at least in the personal, non-business world. I realize I live in the 21st century and not in a Jane Austen novel, but I'm sure you get the point.
It's probably telling that although I brought family photos with me, I've yet to put them up. I think it's too soon because in spite of these great adventures, the pain of separation is still palpable if I give myself the chance to reflect on it. Ironically, even though I've only been away for three weeks, it often feels like three months or even three years. So much happens in a single day, and I am in chronic sensory + information overdrive. In some respects this is actually very beneficial; it focuses my energy and emotions on adapting to a new cultural system and prevents me from becoming maudlin. This is a difficult topic to write about because I am deeply grateful for this amazing opportunity to live abroad and grow in unfathomable ways, and I want in no way for my words to be construed as unappreciative.
Tomorrow's post will be more upbeat -I promise. I plan to go on another field trip (not sure where) and will bring my camera... stay tuned, and thanks for reading.
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