Wednesday, June 8, 2011

On (not) Going to Reunion

I had started to write a post about how much I loved AC, which I planned on finishing after reunion. Although we didn't get to go, I thought I'd still post something in hono(u)r of you all.

We got to the airport and I wasn't allowed to board because the special category of South Africans I thought I belonged to wasn't really special at all. And the agents on the U.S. side are crazy strict. They would not budge, even though I felt pretty sure that they would let me in at Heathrow. It felt silly that Noah-- who is me in the best sense of the word-- was free to travel with his blue passport, while I, with my green one, was not. Anyway. I'll leave my whining about borders and everyone living together as one for another post.

I had been gearing up for reunion for what seemed like forever: first, building up courage to ask Eug what he thought about going, particularly considering our year of crazy travel with Noah (14 flights so far--without hesitation, Eug said "sure!"). Second, finding the money to go. Third, finding the courage to request yet more time off work, and fourth, imagining seeing all the people I'd missed so much in the preceding years. Seriously, the last few months I sometimes just sat and thought of you. Embarrassing. I know you have your own stories of how you did or didn't get to go to reunion, too, so I don't mean to be over-dramatic.

I was looking forward to that atmosphere when we're all together as much as anything. When we're all together, I feel totally accepted, by those who knew me during my most ambitious and religious season.

I missed out on some years with my classmates because we are spread out and spending time together inevitably involves international travel. I got married early, got a job, and lived far from my family- meaning vacation time has always been spent visiting home. I also went through a phase where I felt pressure to turn every encounter into a religious experience for the person with me, which I have since found makes relationships feel forced and uncomfortable, and had me constantly trying to show that I have things a bit more figured out than my neighbor. So, that phase (hopefully) behind me, I was looking forward to just hearing how things were going for everyone- to laughing a lot and to reminiscing.

As we plan our move to South Africa in the coming months, I'm hoping it'll mean more visits (Cape Town is wonderful), and even if I don't see you, my life is still informed by our two years together, in big (knowing each of you, not working for large corporations or for money) and small (knowing quirky facts about friends' countries) ways.

I'll write soon about our trip to Cancun, where we went after it was clear that Wales would not happen. Yes. Cancun. Strange times.


Debbie said...

Thanks Jo - It was really cool reading your honest blog post - not a lot of people have the guts to do that - and yeah, I think I do get what you mean!

Justine & Matthieu said...

I didn't know! I wish I could have seen you. I really relate to the stages after AC, the religious aspect in encounters with people and the pressure that came with it...I really enjoy your blog.