In my kitchen, I have a calendar hung on my refrigerator. It’s hung on the side that faces the sink and the washing machine room, so it’s only on rare occasions that I actually see the poster since the number of times I am at the sink or in the washing machine room is embarrassingly low. In any case, tonight I did make a journey over to that part of my abode and on my return to the orange couch my eyes caught the grids of the calendar’s page open to this month. I began by counting how many work days I have left this month ( 8 ) and then flipped the page to June. My eyes scanned the empty boxes until they rested on Saturday, June 21, the day I leave. Today is a Saturday and it is 10:56pm. That means that at this moment exactly, in five weeks exactly, I will be on a plane headed home. Five weeks is thirty-five days, if I’m doing the math correctly (and it’s entirely possible I’m not, so go ahead and check that, please) and so that means I am in an all-too-sudden-seeming countdown.
I wondered who I was at only five weeks into this experience and so I went back and read the things I’d written in August 2006, just after I’d arrived. This is the first piece I saw and hadn’t forgotten that it happened at all. Every time I wait for the bus, even a year and a half later, I’m reminded of how embarrassing it was to jump into the side of the bus and before I step up into the bus I tell myself to take it slow.
It was also around that time that I wrote this, which has become the most read post on this blog. I remember crafting it in my head the day I first heard that word “gostosa,” while sitting in my friend’s living room after a Sunday brunch with another seven or eight people, the same seven or eight people I have grown to wrap my days around here.
And so it is with fondness and a little bewilderment that I realize I am really in the home stretch. I am thankful tomorrow is Sunday and it will be a slow day and relaxing. I may go out with friends or I may stay in and correct more papers. But whatever I do, I’ll have to make the most of it because five weeks from tomorrow I will be back in the States, landing at JFK, hearing the words “Welcome Home” from the immigration officer, then running into Dennis’ arms where I will stay forever.