Sunday, March 30, 2008

On Belonging... or not

I've arrived. I've been in Vermont for just about two days. It doesn't feel good. It doesn't feel bad. I just kind of feel like I'm waiting for something to happen. I'm waiting for something to click. I'm waiting to fall into place.

I arrived home to a brand new niece and two very tired brand new parents. It's not that they weren't happy about seeing me, it's just that they are filled with the sleep deprived wonder and excitement of having a 6 day old infant. And so my normal position at center stage was already filled. No one wanted me to regal them with stories of adventure and daring in Nepal. No one asked about what happened with Masum when I met him in Kathmandu. Not only that, but they don't even seem to need any help.

I think this is supposed to be my home, but I just kind of feel like an extra person hanging around in someone else's house. It doesn't feel like my space. I don't feel free to do whatever, whenever. I want to give their new family space, but I also want to be a part of it. But I'm not.

It's kind of the same with my friends. I guess three years is a long time to be gone. They've all changed and moved on, and so have I. But I haven't moved on in Burlington. I feel stuck in the past here and I don't quite understand the circles that people are moving in now, or what happened to the posse I used to roll with. I want to be a part of what's happening here, but I'm not.

Not only that, but when I look around me, I feel somewhat disgusted by what I see. There is so much stuff, so much food, so many resources. Last night at this party I went to, we turned off the lights for an hour because it was some kind of international turn off your lights day or something. Okay, that's good. Let's all be aware about energy conservation. But everyone thought it was so romantic and interesting and like they were doing something important, and I'm just sitting there thinking about what over-privileged jerks we are. As though one hour on day is going to make a difference. Why not do it every day? For more than an hour?

I hate to admit this, but right now I feel a lot of contempt for America. I resent the comfort, the excess, the ease with which dollars slip out of your hand and into a store or restaurant, and then somehow back into your hand. I resent all of the procreation that's going on-- there are so many babies filling up a world that it already too full. And I think that the procreation is mostly out of vanity. Our vain and selfish desire to see ourselves in someone else. And maybe even our most basic struggle against loneliness. This whole lifestyle baffles me. But maybe only because it eludes me. Maybe what I'm feeling is not contempt, but jealousy.

Right now, I feel like I could show up to any corner of the globe and be faced with the same problem: Wherever I am, I'm going to have to start over. Wherever I am, I'm going to have to find a way to make myself belong again. I wonder if the "where" is even important at all? I guess I have to figure how to relate to this corner of the world again. And that means I have to shrug off all this contempt and stop being so damn judgemental of the way Americans live their lives.

Saturday, March 15, 2008

i'm not dead. i'm in nepal.

and it is amazing.

back in about a month...