One of the highlights of my time in England was a visit from Zach and Renee. I think this is adorable of them in the South Downs. (Note: Despite the look, she really does love her husband.)
Photos #29 June 10, 2010
You get a whole series here because I realized I had taken these out of other folders for a photo exhibit by international students at Sussex. They would have been my favorites from each original folder had they been in there.
Photo #28 June 9, 2010
One of my favorite things to do in London is to find a market I’ve never been to before on a weekend morning and just wander around browsing stalls and people watching. It’s an activity I don’t mind doing alone. I wish I could say I’ve been to all or even the majority of the markets in London, but it’s just not true. I’ve really only been to a small handful. But of that handful, my favorite experience was at Brick Lane Market simply because I felt like I had rounded a corner of London and ended up in an African market.
Here is a description of Brick Lane Market from Wikipedia:
“Almost anything can be found on Brick Lane, from antique books to eight-track cartridge decks (for many years it hosted a stall selling nothing but rusty cog wheels). A large part of its charm is the possibility of such strange discoveries and it has always been popular with and much photographed by art students. Bargain hunters from across London also value it greatly. It is particularly notorious as a place where stolen bicycles are sold.”
It’s gritty. I like gritty. And it’s fabulous for people watching as East meets West.
Going Home June 8, 2010
I just found this in some Word files I was cleaning up. I’m not sure when I wrote it, but I’ve been meaning for a long time to blog about “home”. I’m hesitant to post this, but maybe it will encourage me to explore the topic some more.
I still cry every once in awhile, many years later, when I think of the pain of leaving Bahrain or of not fitting into the States or of the struggles my brother and other MKs faced when they tried to fit in. I still feel it when I think of the wounds that were ripped open every summer that I returned to work at the re-entry seminar but also the subsequent healing I received. I think I’m fine, and then something makes me so homesick. But homesick for what? For where?
I remember a moment in Seattle before I started college, when my family went to an Indian restaurant with my aunt and uncle. Next to the restaurant was a little supermarket selling Indian spices and other foods. It smelled so much like a shop in Bahrain and the vivid memory of the souq smells hit me so suddenly and painfully that I had to hide my crying. How could I have explained to anyone why I was crying in a little Indian supermarket in Seattle?
In college a friend from Seattle asked me why I talked about Bahrain so much. I said, “How would you like it if you had left home for college knowing that you would never be able to go back?”
The first summer I worked at the re-entry seminar we watched a homemade documentary of an American adult MK’s first trip back to Papua New Guinea and her husband’s first trip there ever. As I watched her plane touch down, I could feel the tears and left the room. I sobbed in my room for an hour, realizing so hard that I would never return “home”.
Another summer at the seminar, I overheard an MK sobbing on the phone with his parents. He was so homesick for Nigeria and missed his friends so much. I remembered that same pain and wanted to tell him so badly that it would get better. That slowly, slowly the pain would subside. But he wouldn’t have heard me. He needed to go through it himself just like every MK does.
It does get better. And as I’ve moved many more times since then, I’ve added new things to my list to miss and be nostalgic for. But my homesickness now is a different type of longing. There is no place to go back home to. No matter where I go, even the most familiar places, are not where I’m from. I can live anywhere in the world and never be from there but never be from someplace else either. So my homesickness is for a place or person I hope to exist. A place to go to, not to be from because at this age it’s too late to be from anywhere. Even there, even then, will my homesickness completely subside?
Photo #25 June 6, 2010
I think I’ve written on here before how one of my big prayers before I went to England was that I would have good housemates. It’s a bit unnerving to think about moving into a house with nine complete strangers and sharing life together for a year. But it worked out better than I could have imagined. I also had a really great group of classmates.
I don’t remember what party this is. I don’t think my house was celebrating anything specific; I think we just wanted to have an end-of-term party and each housemate invite his/her own friends. The two girls directly on my right in this picture were two of my classmates who also became really good friends. They, along with some of my housemates, were true kindred spirits and we all helped keep each other sane that year.