Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Day 17: What I'll Miss

by Sarah Saxe

This morning I refilled my vitamin dispenser from the Tupperware container into which I had poured a mix of vitamins before my departure. I hadn’t wanted to pack the individual bottles. I felt excitement at the dwindling number of pills in the pile. It indicated that I would soon be returning home.

(photo by Kristin Saylor, mango-lover extraordinaire)
I haven’t been homesick like this since being an exchange student in Germany in 1977 – so, a long time. I breathed in deeply and imagined being with my family again. As I thought about hot baths, soft-boiled eggs, mashed potatoes and all the other things that I missed about my life in Alexandria, I heard it: the leaden thump of a mango falling to the ground from the 200-year-old mango tree in the courtyard outside our apartment.

Santo Domingo: a very noisy city
I’ll miss going outside in the morning to pick up my breakfast fruit from the ground. That led me to think about the milk. The milk, sold at room temperature, pasteurized and in cartons, is sooo delicious: exceptionally creamy and a little sweet. Then I started thinking about the rooster. In the middle of a congested city of millions, each morning, after I wake up I hear him in the distance. He is not loud enough to have awakened me. Indeed, all the sounds of the city compete with each other to form a kind of white noise that lulls me to sleep each night.

But back to the rooster, my gentle reminder each day that it is indeed time to put on my alb and go to Morning Prayer. I’ll miss the mangos, the milk, the rooster, not to mention the people. As soon as we complete a friendly greeting of ‘Salud’ or ‘Hola’ or ‘Como estas,’ we are friends and we hug. During the peace at church, everyone hugs. It can take half an hour. When you can’t reach someone for a hug, you embrace the other’s forearm with your hand. I’ll miss that.

I’ll also miss worshiping outside at Adolfo’s church in Boca Chica. I’ll miss the fact that inside isn’t really inside because there are no glass window panes. I’ll miss the rotating shutters on the open windows that keep out the sun far better than curtains woulf, but on the other hand they don’t keep out mosquitoes. All of these wonderings have made me realize that I’m not so much homesick for the U.S.A. as I am for my family and friends – my community. I wonder, what would it be like if they were here too?

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