Returning to "the hill"

In 2 days, I'm going back to SUA for the first time since I graduated. M is graduating, I'm so proud of her for getting there despite all the odds she faced that I have to be there to celebrate. I'm also looking forward to a week of catching up with friends I haven't seen in way too long, haven't spoken to in a while either.  At the same time, I'm so sad about all the friends who won't be there, especially two close friends I was counting on being able to hug and catch up with after too long... but I guess that's part of what moving so much involves. I'm especially looking forward to one person, whom I haven't seen or spoken to since sophomore year of college, driving up to the OC to say hello... that's going to be the most interesting, even if intense, meeting of this next week, I think.

But a little part of me is in disbelief. That world feels far away. Mexico, where I return on June 1st, feels even further away. I can't exactly say I'm nervous-- it feels too far away for me to feel anything about it-- but I am curious to see what happens. I know I'm not the person I was 3 years ago, and I know that's probably going to be true for most of the people I'm going to see again after this interval, so I'm curious to see who we are now in relationship to each other now. That's especially true of my Mexican friends and even the village I'm going back to... 3 years is a long time, the toddlers I carried in my arms will be running all over the place now, the 10-year-olds will be teenagers, probably with a bit of an attitude, and none of them will remember me. There's something humbling about that.

And yet, I feel I will be more myself by the time I return to New York City in July. It's almost as if I no longer know who I am without the confusions of identity... being an international student from India in New York is almost too simplistic, I need to be all of those other people in order to feel whole now. It's a little bit like when you've been sitting in one place too long and your foot goes to sleep (is that the expression in English too, or am I just translating literally from the Hindi?)... waking it up involved those pins and needles that are uncomfortable but not in a bad way, just in a strange way. Once you move it around a bit, though, the blood starts flowing again and you can walk and feel your feet below you as you do so. I'm in the pins and needles stage just now, but I do look forward to feeling my feet again.

I've noticed over this past year in New York, more than ever before in my life, that I switch, from one hour to the next, between feeling surrounded by the love and care of so many beautiful friends that I can't believe my good fortune to feeling utterly alone. That's at least in part because most of those beautiful friends are physically not here, and it's easy to let them slip to the back of one's mind sometimes... and i haven't had the time or emotional energy to create that community here yet. Yet, I know by now that, for the rest of my life, my "real" community will probably live inside my head and all around the world, not in any one specific geographic location. That's both wonderful and frustrating.

Speaking of which, I owe at least two of those friends a phone call before I set off on my summer adventure. And my apartment is demanding a thorough cleaning spree, and my bags haven't even come out of the closet yet, and I have SO many important errands to run, and I leave in less than 48 hours. It's time to sign off, and I look forward to seeing many of you lovely readers soon :)