A mere two weeks ago I was staying at my friend’s apartment to cat sit, and to take advantage of her heat, because it was so cold. In the last week, it snowed three times. Then a few days ago, the meltdown started. One day I went outside and felt that the breeze was not so cold it made me want to cry, or wrap my hood around my head (upon which I was wearing a hat).
Could spring be on its way?
It seems to be. The solid layer of ice upon which we have been walking is melting more quickly than I would have anticipated. The sun is coming out each day, and along with it is a warmer kind of wind – the kind that tells you spring is near. This is good news for me, knowing that it is warming up. Then again…
Regardless of the fact that it has been warming up a bit, I am still layered up when I go to work, because the government seems to turn down the heat a degree for each degree it warms up outside, so last Monday I was wearing my coat at work. Well, it could be worse – I know teachers who can see their breath in their classrooms. But at least I have shed one layer – instead of tights, silk long underwear, and jeans, I went to long underwear, and now tights under my jeans. It is getting warm enough that I may consider wearing my trousers again (I stopped wearing them because they were too thin – the jeans added a little bit extra “protection”).
If I can fit into them, that is. Unfortunately, my comfort food craving and sweet tooth went up the further down the mercury went, and I have been indulging a bit too much lately. I have to rein all of that in if I want to be able to fit into my clothing again! No more size up because I am wearing all these layers excuse!
One thing I do not so much like about this time of year – as all of the snow melts, I am happy, even to deal with the water and slush that is everywhere, as the snow is melting much faster than anyone anticipated. However, with the melting comes the dirt – on the cars, on the streets, on the sidewalks. All the sand that was used to prevent people from slipping, to prevent cars from sliding – all of that remains after the snow and ice are gone. The snow that is still out there is dirty – that oh-so-attractive grey color.
What we need, or what we will need in the next few weeks, is a good thunderstorm – the kind that cleans everything, and seems to usher in the warm weather. I don’t think we will see one, but it is nice to dream…
Another thing this warm up indicates is that the time for my close of service is coming ever closer. I am still going about my daily activities, trying to finish up some projects, continuing guest lectures and helping my friends with their classes, but it is with a sense of knowing the end is near. Two years ago, I was preparing for this trip and experience, and here I am now, preparing to return to the U.S. With such preparation come many thoughts and emotions.
I have to admit, right now I am not excited to return to the U.S. because of the nasty politics that are going on, and because of the attack on women that is going on (what year is this again???). We seem to have regressed in many ways, or perhaps it is my perspective from so far away. I wonder how the U.S. believes it has the right to go to other countries and hold our country as a model while attacking the rights of women, while attacking people for their religion, while spreading hate.
I worry about where I will live when I return – it won’t be in MN, I know that. Also about how long it will take me to find employment – at my age, with my experience, it is not as easy as taking an entry-level job. Been there, done that, don’t care to repeat it. I have been told that things will work out…I used to have that faith but seem to have lost it in the trauma of 2007-2010. I hope to find it again.
At the same time, I am excited to return to a land where things are familiar, where I understand everything going on around me, where people smile at me. I am excited to see my niece graduate from high school, and to spend time with my family. Yet I am sad that I will leave some friends that I finally found, in my last nine months here – I wish I had more time with them, because they make being here much more pleasant.
I am sure in the next three months I will be writing more about my whirlwind of emotions as I approach my return to the U.S. date. For now, I am still here, and spending my Sunday as usual. I still have some things to do here, and it is becoming ever more challenging to maintain focus as my time to leave draws nearer. While I have some worries and anxieties, there is also an excitement – starting a new chapter in life is always exciting. Am I prepared? Well, I guess I’ll find out.