Building bridges

Because so much time has passed, it's always hard to write something new here. It's like when you see an old friend and desire nothing but to feel as if nothing has changed. In reality, you are a completely different person. You want to be able to explain the details that have made you who you are; to explain away the reasons why your friend might not recognize you. And the words won't come. Sometimes I have to remind myself that the words I put on paper are often more for me than anyone else. Scrawling the words down might give me peace and have deep significance to me in that moment, but other times, the significance comes years later when we can look back and see how certain events have shaped us. Years after coming home from my Peace Corps service, I still find myself in awe of the way my time in Senegal shaped me. Even stranger was picking up my old journal and reading the words I wrote as I left Senegal and found myself in London. The transition was significant. The words I wrote on 5.12.2010:
"...and so begins the great transition. A dramatic change of scenery, a drastic shift of temperature and flooding feelings of segregation. London is capturing my heart and also causing me to question where I fit. Everyone is dressed in the coolest clothes, talking on their iPhones with perfectly sculpted hair. I don't own shoes. My clothes are two years old. But I yearn to be like them. Where can I get those shoes? It's like the siren calling me to the rocky shores. Senegal seems so far away. I seemed to have left my confidence there as well. I never questioned my "fitting in" there. But here, every where I look, I question myself. Will they like me when I show up to their cocktail party looking like a dirty hippie wearing bright African colored prints and 500 CFA plastic sandals? The "perfect good bye" that I imagined while I was in Senegal went about as well as a first dress rehearsal could: filled with error and not resembling the director's original design. Imperfect, rushed. I suppose that's how it always ends up."
Being able to read these words all this time later brings indescribable clarity. The emotions felt in those moments become real again and I recognize myself. A bridge is built between the past and present and the walk I've made between the two points makes sense. Let this be a reminder to myself the value of these ramblings . Because without these moments scratched onto paper, I can't as easily built the bridges between the then and the now.