home, james

it’s 4:00 am and i wake to the thunder of rain on a tin roof, the crash of swollen surf outside the window. a gecko chirps from the dark corner of the ceiling and i realise how very much i will miss that oddly comforting sound. this is the last full day of our trip – tomorrow will be spent getting back to san jose and our flight home is early the next morning. my mind starts to click and whir at this ungodly hour – wondering how cold it is in london, remembering i need a new winter coat, all new clothes, in fact, wondering whose house i left my mobile phone at, thinking about my meeting with my old boss. argh – this is ridiculous. at 5:30, i give up tossing and turning, leaving j to the sleepy comfort of the bed, and go sit on the balcony to watch the sun rise over the beach.

i’ve seen a few of these on this journey – sunrise in yangshuo china, sunrise over ha long bay in vietnam, sunrise over abel tasman park in new zealand, sunrise over the international date line, sunrise over the bolivian salt flats, sunrise over machu picchu… there are more i’m forgetting, i’m sure. and while i hate actually waking up, i love being awake at this hour, when everyone else is still asleep. i find it the most peaceful time or day and i love getting a first glimpse of the day that most people miss. so i surrender to wakefulness, watch the warm light begin to play over the horizon of the pacific. as silly as it sounds, i will also miss this ocean.

i suck at goodbyes, and in most circumstances tend to deal with them using a strict protocol of denial. if i pretend we will meet again, it allows me to avoid confronting the sense of loss and deep missing. so i don’t do goodbyes.

but there’s no ignoring that i will miss these geckos and this pacific ocean. i will miss eating cool papaya salad on sticky nights. i will miss the red clay that stains my toes like henna. i will miss the clusters of chinese shop girls who giggle and follow me around. i will miss loud thumping pop music in impossible languages. i will miss watching countryside unfurl from a bus window. i will miss the old women in pigtails selling socks and chicharrones and gelatins. i will miss haggling with them over the outrageous price of socks. i will miss changing from my designated set of “cold climate” clothes to designated “warm climate” clothes every time we change countries. i will miss trying strange brands of toothpaste. i will miss re-setting my watch for different time zones. i will miss being tan. i will miss political graffiti. i will miss the novelty of television on the road. i will miss learning new ways to say “hello” and “thank you”. i will miss using funny currencies that come in ridiculous denominations. i will miss the chaos of asian traffic. i will miss the tuktuks and songthaews and collectivos and rickshaws. god help me, i will even miss the chicken buses. i will miss getting off the beaten path. i will miss mid-afternoon rains that rinse the heat and dust from the air. i will miss the mountain air so pure it hurts to breathe too deeply. i will miss mountains. i will miss nature so very much. i will miss drinking local beers and trying local dishes. i will miss the simple pleasure of a hot shower and clean clothes. i will miss getting dirty and sweaty and wet and not caring. i will miss meeting people and sharing war stories. i will miss the still hush of temples. i will miss the cacophony of markets. i will miss street vendors selling strange foods and i will miss working up the courage to try them. i will miss “eating street”. i will miss whitewashed plazas with fountains and palm trees. i will miss the thickly starred night sky of the southern hemisphere. i will miss savouring and appreciating even really bad books. i will miss the ritual of having breakfast every morning with my husband and i will miss good coffee.

i will miss the adventure of waking up every morning and rediscovering where we are, figuring out where we are going, and what we will do. the adventure of not knowing what the day holds.

i will miss the adventure.

i don’t do goodbyes, so this is not goodbye. this is “until the next adventure”.

i’ll never be ready – so i guess i’m as ready as i’ll ever be.

home, james.

5 Responses to “home, james”

  1. Anglofille
    October 13th, 2006 09:39

    What a lovely post, Jen. I’m glad you aren’t saying goodbye. After all, you’ll be having plenty more adventures.

    Have a safe journey home. Thanks for sharing your trip with us.

  2. andy
    October 13th, 2006 14:29

    Well, that’ll be “home, James” if James (drummer) manages to get himself moved out of our spare room tomorrow! :)

    [ No worries, he found a place, it's all yours ]

    Clean sheets and fresh towels and a friendly cat and an always-hot shower await you chez Andy-and-Kim.

    See you Sunday, good journey.


  3. Em and Dave
    October 13th, 2006 20:16

    Jen and Jonno,

    Completely sympathise with how you feel we will be in the same position soon!

    Enjoy every minute of the last of the trip and your new adventure when you get back home.

    Safe trip.

  4. daddio
    October 14th, 2006 04:06

    via con dios

  5. Bob and Loretta
    October 16th, 2006 22:08

    Bob and I have been reading your posts religiously ever since Dave shared site with us a few months ago. It has been fun sharing in your adventures. We learned so much about you both through these posts. We just came back from a weekend in Montreal. I can see how you would have liked the city. We’ll chat more after you get back to London. — Bob and Ret

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