April 17th marked the half-way point of my internship. Now, a month since, I am just about two months from a long plane ride or four back to Canada.
I wasn’t sure how I would feel about being closer to going home than arriving. The 17th and the past four weeks have felt a lot like the plane trip here: hurtling inevitably toward an experience that will be exciting, confusing, and new. My original home in Canada will have familiar people, but it’s hard to imagine living there again after having created a home in Uganda.
…and, for those in doubt, four months don’t go by without creating some kind of home. Friends; family (not blood related though they may be); storekeepers who recognize me and ask about my day; routines like breakfast, second breakfast, walking to get water, and favourite restaurants; and a place where I sleep, store my stuff, and recharge are all here.
All here and all must be left behind. I paused after typing that sentence, staring off into space with anxious thoughts about how it will feel to leave this. Never mind returning to Canada – I have a support network there and will be given a week-long reintegration briefing with some lovely folks from VIDEA – I’m realizing now that leaving a life behind is more disconcerting.
I have left a life behind before. I did that so I could come here. But I am guaranteed to return to that life; the IYIP program contractually obligates me to return to Canada. Flights are already booked and paid for.
So I have no choice but to leave. I do have a choice how I spend my next two months of evenings and weekends. Two months of eating too much popcorn and staying up too late watching movies, walking around town for ten minutes before settling in shade because the sun is stupid, wolfing down ice cream in front of a supermarket before it melts, and just hanging out and living it; that sounds pretty okay to me.