Comme les Éléphants

While wondering the halls of the musée Dauphinois right by my French residence, I happened upon a quote by mountaineer, Caroline Villeneuve, that read, “Mon rêve, c’était de faire comme les éléphants, de revenir où je suis née” or in English, “My dream, it was to do as the elephants, to come back to where I was born.” For some reason, this has resonated with me since then and I did not really know why until now.

I recently returned from a fulfilling trip back to Jamaica. It was the first time I travelled for the holidays since moving further north, and I have decided that travel during the winter season to a warmer destination can cause some painful withdrawals, upon return, which I do not admire at this time.

Uptown Kingston at primet-time: Hop on while you can!

Uptown Kingston at prime-time: hop on while you can!

Still, though I have taken this trip before, I had never taken it like this. The fragile innocence of youth can blind one to the realities that they have lived, and this trip exposed me to many of these facts and figures I had not concretely defined before.

Simply put, it was a family trip to celebrate the start of the end and the end of the start.

Nevertheless I went into this with an agenda; comme les éléphants, I knew that there was much to rediscover and I only had two weeks. I prepared myself as I had during last summer’s European adventure: I made a list of destinations after a quick search on TripAdvisor and I made a promise to myself that no time would be wasted; at least once every day, the sun would shine on my face. Soon I came to realise that my agenda was becoming of something more.

Negril: Rick's Café at sunset is a must.

Negril: Rick’s Café at sunset is a must.

It is quite difficult to explain exactly my experience; to analogize, it is as if I have been telling a story I once remembered so clearly as a kid, as clear as real life. Every time I retold this story, something was added to it or taken away; and so everytime I retold this story, it felt less true, less authentic, like I had never really known it before. So once I began seeing characters and objects from this story again, things slowly came back to me, still faint but ever so familiar.

Unlike my European escapades where walking was a must, we drove everywhere; it was a blessing and a curse as the heat could kill, but I had to absorb everything in 5 seconds or less. Even so, for the things that took more time, like going to the supermarket or meeting my father’s friend from high school, I was like a sponge in water.

St. Catherine - Flat Bridge: on the road.

St. Catherine : on the road to Flat Bridge.

Conversations had more depth, people and places had more features, and my memories had more flavour. I concluded then that, in all my denial as a proud immigrant against acclimatization, I could now properly justify my multinationality as the proof was right there.

I did indeed live a part of this story, but a long time ago; when trees grow, their roots stretch out, reaching ends once unknown to that same trunk. So I may have lost my accent, and I cannot easily differenciate between uptown and downtown as other locals; but my roots all started from the same spot that I can and will always return to.

It never hurts to learn what you have always known.

À la prochaine,
Moi

Music of the Moment:

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Every End of an Ending is the Beginning of a Beginning..

I’ve never really been good at goodbyes. Then again, I’ve never really been good at hellos.

I have been looking forward to the opportunity to travel for too long a time now; after completing five straight semesters of post-secondary education whilst working at a typical minimum wage paying job, and dealing with the oh-so-unsurprising social dramas of the young adult life, there was nothing else I wanted more than to put my current life on pause and live a new, different, other-worldly one.

The happenings of today, however, burst that perfectly round, happy, internationally-inclined bubble of mine: after working my last shift before my departure at my more recent job, it was time to say goodbye to everyone until four months. And at first, walking into my shift this morning, I thought, “Four months is no big deal, so today is no big deal.”

But…I might have miscalculated on that one.

I was on the brink of tears while driving out of the parking lot of my workplace as I realized that time (which seems to be a very significant asset in every event in life) allows so much to happen, even in the shortest of lengths, so no matter how long or short my absence might be, things are certain to change – without me – and I don’t know if I’m quite ready for that.

What hit me even harder was realizing that, though I’ve only known these people for such a short period, they’ve become like family to me.

So, when I left out the back door tonight, I made a promise to myself to cherish the moments with those I call family now, and those that I will soon meet abroad that I know I will call family soon; because after all, we are one world, and one people.

Still, I will not let my confused emotions or doubting thoughts deter me from my plans. The only difference between the future and the present is that one is being written and one is being read, and there is nothing else I can do but read on…

À la prochaine,
Moi

Music for the Moment: