Friday, January 20, 2012

Leaving Again

January 20, 2012 – Leaving Again

It’s with some reluctance that I pack up my bags again, test my luggage weight to make sure I’m not over the airline limits, collect snacks and think about how to say Thank You in such a way that my true gratitude is expressed to my parents who have done so much for me. Since the other five of my sibs are out of the house and I’m temporarily in, I’ve been getting only child treatment and that’s been fun.
Me and Jackson Lee
My mom and I’ve worked, played, shopped, run errands, visited new babies, taken coffee to friends, and just hung out together over the past weeks. We’ve brainstormed healthy meals and on my last night we create a stuffed Portobello mushroom recipe that is killer good. The night before that she and I, for once, stayed up together past our bedtimes (and, for once, past Dad’s) to watch Field of Dreams after we’d all watched Moneyball.

A last supper

“I’m a sucker for baseball movies,” Mom said.
Yeah, I am too. If it’d been a little earlier in the evening we’d have probably watched The Natural after that. I have this crazy soul-core love for the sport of baseball. I think it comes from watching my mom play softball when I was just a curly, tow-headed mite. Baseball taps something primal inside me, makes me dream of summer heat, and believe in my fellow man. I feel just like Billy Beane in Moneyball when he says, “How can you not be romantic about baseball?” There’s an All American magic in the heavy thwap of a ball hitting a glove, of a bat connecting with ball, of a player rounding the bases, or sliding into second, or catching a fly. Mom was a phenomenal softball player and I think she feels even more about baseball and softball than I do. I get passionate when I talk about baseball. I get carried away.

I do the same thing when I talk about worms. I know I’m weird. I know.
But! Earthworms are good for the earth ( Years ago, soon after I changed my eating habits and got into a healthier lifestyle, I’d read about how good it is to have composting worms. I’d toyed with the idea of getting some, but never followed through on it. So when I first found out my dad had worms, I was ecstatic. And jealous. Out of the generosity couched in his heart, Dad split his bin of composting worms with me last Christmas and I’d taken them back to Colorado Springs to start a brand new life. I’d fed them my organic peels, stems, and food remains and looked forward to using the rich earth they cultivate for growing other plant life. The worms had been friendly and silent companions and I’d loved them intensely. Each day I’d come down my stairs to get ready for work and when I saw the bin I’d smile. “Good morning, worms,” I’d say. Then, later, with my hand on the garage door I’d turn and say, “See you later on. Have a good day.” When I sold my things and got ready to flee to South America I worried over them. My dismay vanished when Dad agreed to take the worms back. I’d bid them all a teary farewell and gone. The weekend before I leave from this trip, Dad and I harvest the rich worm-poop compost from the two worm bins. The loam is dark, nutrient dense and beautiful. We sort the worms out of the loam, separate the newspaper and the food scraps into piles, and talk to each other and to the worms while we work. The worms don’t say much and mostly squirm to get out of the light and back underground.

“Hello, darlings!” I tell them. “Easy, you’ll be comfortable again soon enough.”
We get them back into their bin homes and Dad takes out the nutrient rich soil to use in his and my mom’s garden. This is father-daughter bonding time at its greatest. Add in Kombucha bottling, mushroom growing, weightlifting, health, food, and sustainability talks and shared music likes and that’d only tip the iceberg of our times together.

Kombucha Bottling
So it’s not difficult to see how leaving this environment would be hard for me. These companionable connections I have with my folks are only made via Skype or email when I’m away and I already miss them.
I shove my bags into my mom’s car and she drives me to the airport. Dad and the dogs wave goodbye from the front porch. I wave back. Goodbye. It’s not like I haven’t lived away from them for the past ten years, but always before I’d been heading back to the mountains of Colorado. That had also been going home. On this morning, I try to muster some excitement, but it’s with a bit of dread that I head back to Lima. Back to the world of fútbol which I like well enough but which doesn’t inspire me to gush the way baseball does. Back to a city where I’ve yet to encounter an earthworm amid the insane bustle (though to be fair I haven’t been out digging for them). Back to the quasi-complicated paradox of my life where I seek to satisfy my need for both solitude and companionship. For a moment I forget what I want; this ability I have to do what I love and to live happily, to experience new things, and to be free. I live a privileged and spectacular life. I’ve created an existence I used to only imagine in the place of my mind where fiction simmers. While I know all this, being back at my parents’ has felt like home. Comforting. Perhaps too comfortable. I’ve found peace here when I wasn’t expecting to. While I know I’m not ready to settle permanently in either Texas or Peru, when I think of my apartment in Jesús María I still don’t think of it as home. In my thoughts it feels sterile, unwelcoming. I know it’s just a matter of creating my own sense of familiarity there. I need to cultivate home in my being. I need to learn how to be at home no matter where I am. But I don’t know how to do this yet.

While I struggle with this, I’m conflictedly looking forward to getting back into my schedule. I’m eager to sit at my ironing board desk and stare out the window to watch the world go by while I search my brain-files for the perfect words. If there’s any other thing I’m more passionate about than worms or baseball, it’s writing. But I’m not going to get back to this right away. The day I fly into Lima a college friend is also flying in to visit for a week. We’ll take a flight the day after to Cusco and have a weeklong excursion there.
Home = Kale Salad and Kombucha
Normally I’d be all over this chance. This time though, I feel like I need a break between the time I’ve had with my family and another adventure. Over the last five weeks, I’ve stayed up too late, leaving sleep to fend for itself, gotten out of my daily exercise regimen, been eating stuff I normally avoid, and played with the emotions I find arise when I’m with my family. This is entirely my own fault (though it’s definitely been worth it) and I feel as if I’ll pay the piper if I don’t watch out. My spirit of adventure wants a breath respite that I can’t give it.

Buck up, kid, I reprimand myself. There are people who’d kill to do the things you get to do.

I know.                
Mom pulls up to the curb, I hug her goodbye, lug my bags up on to my shoulders, get through security, buckle the seatbelt across my middle and settle back in my seat on the plane. I take a deep breath, hold it a second then let it go in preparation for this new leg of my life.

With the Puerto Rican flirt in the seat next to me who keeps touching my arm as he calls me “Baby” and entreats me to take him with me to Peru, I look down over Dallas. I block him out and whisper to my family, friends, and worms, “This ain’t a forever goodbye, just a see you later.”
I’m heading South to finally catch a summer. Let the adventure continue. See you guys later.

1 comment:

  1. See you later, Amanda. Have a great time on your return to Lima. We'll see you again when you return. (Just make sure your next trip gets you in the Colorado area if you can!)