Shifting to a new place – a new city in a foreign country where people don’t speak your tongue and don’t look like you and don’t do things the way you are used to doing them can be quite a challenge! If you are wondering about what would win between the excitement of being in a new land and the intimidation that comes with it, here’s my experience.
When it’s a vacation or a short period that you are spending somewhere… or if you are with a group of people you know… things are a lot easier. But when you are by yourself in a land of complete strangers and when it dawns upon you that this is going to be your life for at least a few years, things can feel different. Not that I was unaware about this, I made the choice, you see. But no amount of ‘knowledge’ can actually ‘prepare’ you enough! My recent move has been rather dramatic.
But now that I have made the choice and find myself right in the middle of it, I am slowly picking the pieces of my life and putting them together, as if I were solving a puzzle, except I can’t see here what the final picture must look like. It’s a process of defining who I am, a process of finding the ‘right’ me, a process of figuring out all over again, the person I have been for the last 24 years of my life. But how do I figure out who I have been for the past 24 years? How do I put the pieces together to mean exactly what it is supposed to mean? Probably by holding on to each memory, each familiar smell, each familiar taste, each familiar touch, each familiar sight.
My mother sent me a box of sweets she made. Every night when I open my suitcase to take something out, I look at the box of sweets. I have eaten these a million times and every time they have tasted the same. I carefully open the box each night, count the number of pieces left and then break one in half and eat that half little by little till all of my tiny taste buds are soaked in the rich sugary taste. Every night I feel a solid sense of panic as I realize that there’s half a piece less than the previous night. That half a piece of sweet is my way of holding on to the familiar taste of ‘home’.
How does it feel when I have that half a piece in my hand, knowing I am going to eat it in a second? Imagine this…you sitting on the damp shore, fully aware of what awaits you in the next few seconds. The sight of that massive wave. The fear that crushes your soul and that the confidence that keeps you from running away. You are one with your existence, knowing fully well the impact of wave of nostalgia. It is like one of those zen experiences, though it is unfair for me to call it a zen experience because I may have never truly experienced one of those! But that moment of life is being ‘spent’ in true sense…it is being feared and enjoyed and in the future it will be cherished!