Can you tell it’s late at night and I’m not really sure what I’m trying to say? That’s exactly the point, though. Because while I was sitting and thinking, and sitting and thinking, all about my last three weeks in Africa, how much I had to do and how fast it would go, how fast it had already gone, and how fast it was coming at me (“it” being time, of course, not an albatross or something silly like that) I realized that I have only been focusing on my time in Africa ending and the next chapter with the girl of my dreams beginning, and not what any of that means. I flashed back to another moment, when I was sitting and thinking… thinking how to explain to my parents my wild idea about heading off into the wild blue yonder and living in East Asia, India, and Africa for the next 2-3 years. After 30 minutes of breathless and scattered explanation, they leaned back, looked at each other, and said “sounds great, go for it!” That was four and a half years ago, and it all seemed so dreamlike, so far away, even when I was right in the thick of it. But for the first time it now hits me that in three weeks that plan, every step of it and more, will be finished. The path I’ve been walking on for years has come to its conclusion, and I have absolutely no idea how I feel about that, except for one word: Flabbergasted.
What I do know is how I expect the next month to feel… and the closest I can come to describing it forces me to use “tornado” as an adjective. The next month with be extremely tornadoy! The week in front of me must produce a first draft of my survey report. This project has taken up most of my working hours (a motley collection of sporadic lengths of time, I confess) in the last four months, and the database of results
alone has taken four people working most of the last three weeks to complete. Now it’s time to start churning out charts, graphs, and ideally lots of intelligent words to explain the charts and graphs, with very little time to do all that churning.
|Ndelilio and Sig translate tirelessly|
|I run about waving large stacks of paper...|
|...and twitching nervously whenever|
piles of data rear their...stacks.
The following week (Feb 5-12) I intended to set out on my long-planned trek. No, not up Kilimanjaro ($1000+ is a wee bit out of my price range after 18 months of gallivanting), and not even through any national parks or any place that a tourist has heard of ($100 per day is still out of my price range). But I was determined to find something to match to my Buddhist pilgrimage in Japan and Hindu Pilgrimage in India, so when I heard about a large volcano in the wilderness north of the Serengeti which the Maasai call
|Ol Doinyo Lengai - The Mountain of God|
|The next chapter...|
Need I say more?
After that we fly to France, and I try to understand the notion of slowing down a bit… while I work on finishing the Tanzanian survey report, getting a summer job in Korea, applying to universities in Germany, learning French, and continuing to spend real time with my girlfriend that’s not interrupted by power-outages or time-differences. Hmm, maybe “slowing down” won’t be that slower…
If you want to know the plan from there, it surprisingly hasn’t changed since my most recent “THE PLAN” post.
I realize this post isn’t that interesting, but I haven’t been able to pull together anything more interesting in the last month, and probably won’t have time to post much in the month of February. Never fear (and don’t go away!), I’ll be back in force in March, if not before, with tales of Maasai volcanoes, Turkish rendezvous, and French cuisine! Until then, thank you all for your messages, interest, and friendship! I’m constantly reminded that the best and most intrinsic part of this amazing life I’m leading is you, each of you reading this now. You so often leave me flabbergasted! I’ll see you on the other side of here-and-now!