Sunday, September 13, 2009

Getting ready

Packing stuff for a trip is like trying to do a jigsaw puzzle by imagining where all the pieces go before you start moving any of them -- trying to picture what I might want to wear six months from now to teach a writing class in Isinya or to work in the garden of the Zendo or to walk around Pokhara. Will I be hot? Cold? How modest or formal should I be? What can I imagine washing in a sink, or wearing 20 days out of 30, or wearing to a Hindu temple or on the beaches in Malindi? Packing is the manifestation of my desires to control the future, which is still unknowable and beyond my influence. I want to be able to pack everything into these two suitcases- the security of my home, my friends and family, my favorite foods, fellowship and recovery, sanity, safety, comfort. But this is not how it works.

My grandfather used to say "take less stuff and more money", but one also has the feeling that it might be difficult to obtain what we want in the isolation of Isinya -- unless we are looking for kangas or pangas or school uniforms.

If I step back to look at what we are actually about to do, it all feels a bit abstract and overwhelming but also incredibly exciting. I have had the experience before of tossing myself into the waves, diving headlong into an experience and hoping for the best, but now it is the two of us standing on the high dive, staring down into that abyss that seems unfathomably far and dim, holding hands, starting the countdown -- ten, nine, eight....

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