July 28th, 2009 1:20PM PDT
I have been waiting for this day for so long. The day of my return to everything I hold dear. I am writing from the airplane that will take me home. In less than two hours, I’ll be in Los Angeles. Right now, according to the flight information screen, we are somewhere over Wyoming, I think. My own country!
As the plane was taking off from Amsterdam, I was struck with the notion that Los Angeles wouldn’t be my next destination; the sky would be. The plane rose higher and higher into the air, soaring between the clouds, and suddenly, I knew where I was. I was (and am, as I write this) in the sky.
My stay in Africa? It suddenly feels like a distant dream, a memory from a distant past, years or even lifetimes ago. Was I really just in Ghana for nine-and-half-months?
Likewise, my former American life also feels like a dream. Images of people and places float through my mind as effortlessly as these cushiony clouds float through the sky, delicate memories that surely must have been memories from beautiful dreams. And the fact that soon those dreams will become reality, that these wispy images will soon materialize, why, that’s as easy to grasp as the idea that an enormous metal object weighing hundreds of thousands of pounds is currently speeding thousands of feet above the ground. Yes, of course I understand that it’s possible, but when I really think about it, I have a hard time wrapping my brain around it.
So, my life in Africa feels like a dream, and my life in America feels like a dream... where, then, do I belong? At this moment, it feels like I’ve only really truly known one life and there’s only one place where I belong... right here, in the clouds, sailing in a bird-shaped boat through a sea of endless blue. Whatever lies beneath the clouds feels as accessible and as mysterious as the bottom of the ocean, but here, in the clouds, this is where I belong, with a past that goes back as far as I can remember and a future that stretches on until the sun sets.
I know I’m sounding crazy, but I guess that makes sense because I’m so deliriously tired right now. I’ve spent the last twenty-four hours traveling! The flight attendant is about to bring the coffee. I hope that will help. Bring it.
PS: Some of the flight attendants started speaking to me in Dutch. They thought I was a Dutch girl! I think Dutch people are very beautiful and awesome, so I took that as a compliment! :)
Looking out the window, I can see California. At last, I am home. In approximately twelve minutes, the plane will land. :)