It’s around 2:15am right now in Japan. I can’t seem to make it to bed before 2am no matter how tired I am. I get some sort of second wind when I realize everyone at home is really starting to dig into their day. I don’t know when the last time was that I got a solid 8hrs. I’m aware that I’m the worst at keeping up this blog. And I need to get to bed so this ain’t gon’ be Valle’s most eloquent verse, but I just had a realization that I think others can relate to so I figured I'd put it down.
The last 11 months have been some of the most difficult, yet simultaneously amazing of my life. And trying to reconcile the flood of what, at times, seem like completely antithetical feelings can be sort of dizzying. I moved to Cartagena around 11 months ago to conduct research for my dissertation. I guess you could say it was the best of times, it was the worst of times. I just returned in May and still haven’t really processed all that was that experience. That unforgettable, awesomely awful, superbly silly time. I've been on the move so much. It's what Carmen Jones Sandiego has chosen to do for the last two years.
I found myself scrolling through my Instagram pics a short while ago (which I only started using since moving to Cartagena last August) and was sort of floored by all of the faces and different spaces. All of the color. All of the moments and the newness. All of the sights, smells, sounds, the tastes and the touches. And all of the darkness that often loomed in the background or pressed itself smack dead in my face. In just the last six months I’ve spent time on the soil of ten countries, on four different continents. I don’t even know how I made that happen. Feel like I’m watching my own movie and went to bathroom when they told that part.
And I’m sitting here in my room in Yokohama, Japan after packing up my things to head back into Tokyo in the morning so I can leave for Kyoto on Fri., come back to Tokyo on Monday, then back to the States on Tues. (feels like it sounds but with good theme music). I look down at my arms. I got the meanest bites of my life when I was in Austria, no bullshitting. And it hits me that these bites look as if they will permanently scar my arms. I go into a mini-panic. But I’ve worked so hard to prevent scars! What will I do?! Scars are ugly and hard and just unbecoming. I’m a single woman. I can’t be unbecoming! Who will love me if I am not pretty?! Gasp! Pause. Tranquiiila.
I’m fairly certain I got these scars from the mosquitos that went berserk while drinking spritzers with new friends and colleagues at a vineyard in Vienna. And how often will I get to do such a thing? How long will I get to go on these adventures? Ultimately we get older. We will change. And as long as we aren't standing still, we will bruise. We will have pain. We will scar. But as it turns out, scars are merely the price of truly living.