How do you go back to “normal” after sixty-one days worth of adventure? More importantly, is it normal not to want to?
Because I don’t exactly want to.
Lately, when people see me, a lot of them ask–somewhat offhandedly; more to be polite than anything else–“How was Brazil?” I usually answer something along the lines of “tiring” (if I’m busy) or “amazing” (if I’m feeling somewhat upbeat), but I never really get into the specifics, because if I did, I’d be standing there for hours, stumbling over words and still not managing to completely explain everything. How do you explain that yes, it was tiring, but who needs sleep when you could be laughing at Democratico’s until closing time? That Brazilian barbecue was crazy good but my favorite food (more for the memories than the taste, though) was Maringá hotdogs, eaten with friends at three in the morning (or some hour close to that)? That some of my most memorable days were not spent at parties, but lying in the grass talking about everything and nothing? That it was both everything and nothing that I’d imagined?
That I miss everything and everyone to a point where I have to stop myself from bugging my co-interns like a lovesick stalker every time any of them comes online, because I’m still not used to not being able to talk to them all the time?
…okay, maybe that’s a little too attached. (Cue ‘Psycho’ theme.)
It’s getting to a point where I literally run out of words when I think about everything I might have to explain, if I’m called upon to explain it. Like right now. In this blog.
I really should quit while I’m ahead.
Everything I could say sounds really cliché. You know, the usual sentiments: “This was totally life changing! I will never forget any of you! Please stay in touch! I’ll always miss you! I’ll try to come back!” (I’d like to hope that last one isn’t that much of a long shot, considering the state of my personal finances post-Brazil.) I definitely feel all those things, but at the same time everyone says them, and maybe I’m hipster but something that everyone says doesn’t quite seem to cut it for me. (Does that sound as pretentious as I think it does? Yikes.)
Just the memories? Not bloody likely.
I could take the opposite tact and look at everything realistically. Years of theater–a similar isolating, pressure-cooker, “other world” as this internship experience–have taught me that while you always end the production feeling like family, chances are in a few months the bulk of you are casual acquaintances again, at best. Friendships forged in a pressure cooker rarely survive the world outside it, and long-distance friendships, separated by miles and timezones, often fare the worst. In fact, when I’d first entered my internship, I was fully resolved on not getting too attached, lest I buy in to the same delusion I always did after every production wrapped: that this season would be forever.
But it’s too late for that, any anyway, my “realism” savors strongly of “pessimism.” While, okay, realistically I can already see that physical distance has translated into relational distance–we all have our own lives, after all–and that life has gone on uninterrupted (as the photos of AIESEC Maringá parties that flood my news feed illustrate), I’d like to believe that it’s technically impossible to completely go “back to normal.” Because it only takes twenty-one days to make a habit, and I had sixty-one days worth of late nights and hard work and banter and misadventures and getting lost to find myself.
Because I had sixty-one days in possibly one of the most amazing places I’ve ever been, with some of the most amazing people I’ve ever known. And that when I say that the experience was “life changing,” it was because you guys changed me. When I say that I will never forget any of you, it’s because I am literally incapable of doing so, even if I tried. When I beg you to stay in touch it is because I’d like the story to continue, even if this chapter’s most definitely over.
(“I’ll always miss you,” is my lone concession to realism: the knowledge that there will always be something lost in goodbye.)
I guess the end of every adventure is always the springboard for the next, because now that I’ve been where I’ve been, I can’t sit still. I’m excited about life again, about the next journey, about the possibility of the next journey. And for that, and for you, I will always be grateful.
…okay, you can start throwing rotten tomatoes at me now. :))
P.S. I’m going to have to think of a new “closing” since, technically, I can’t be NC anymore as my freaking URL has my real name. :)) Any ideas, guys?
P.P.S. Just because I said I stop myself from bugging you all via Facebook doesn’t mean you have an excuse to make yourself strangers. Honestly. I know where (some of) you live!!
…Okay, done being creepy. I’m going to go run my errands now.