iea, Peace Corps Volunteer, Mykolaiv

This morning, I thought that if I kept my eyes closed, I might be able to delay the day, and could continue dreaming. Lately I’ve been having dreams of people I haven’t seen for quite a long time. Within the dreams, the situations have been quite bizarre, like running on a freeway and passing a best friend from some kind of time period. What’s been more peculiar is that I’ve responded to these situations and people with casual interest in the way of saying, “Oh, hi. It’s good to see you. Now, I must go.” Before, after and during the alarm clock interspersed with morning phone calls, I was in the middle of being in the space of my childhood. Only, this time, with a pocketful of Kiev Metro Tokens, I was doing everything I could to get back to here. It was good to see friends and figures of my childhood, but I wanted nothing more than to be on a Marshrutka, or walking past my favorite jaunts of the planted car, parks, and weaving through bazaars.

Inside my dream, a parking lot became an ocean of sand and water due to the downpour taking place outside my dreamlike supermarket. From growing up in the Southwestern US, I most crave their majestic thunderstorms. They don’t happen very often, but when they begin, the sky burns with color and water, and it’s the most saturating feeling one could ever experience. Nowhere else has them the way they happen in my childhood. In America, the Midwest has these frightening thunderstorms the way an electrical fence screams keep out. The Northwest has pleasant drizzling in the way of calm acceptance to beauty. Here, in Ukraine, in the summer, the storms feel exciting and comforting, knowing that the water is going into the fruits and vegetables, which are so enticing, you can feel their nutrients. But the southwest’s beauty is in fierceness.

When I could no longer delay my entrance to this world, I awoke to that pleasant and refreshed feeling southwestern thunderstorms grant, only to find the outside world ossified in grayness. Laying in grayness, I listened to the pattering pitter of cars streaming on soaked streets, and the drops on my balcony windows sounding much louder than normal. I soon wandered into productivity by gathering my wits inside a hot cup of tea. And so I began the last step of grading to happen before I could shift into tomorrow’s churning of rest and ideas to be ready to jump into next semester after the New Year begins. The rain in today feels like the hibernating preparation for the end of the hitherto most important era in my life.

After finishing tasks that always take longer on indefinable cloud saturated and rainy days, I meandered downstairs, running into a baba-friend of my neighbor, who, within the span of our 5-minute walk together proceeded to tell me stories, to point out where her children lived (all within the radius of walking-distance), recommended I meet a Ukrainian man, and marry him, so I can stay in Ukraine. I decided not to express my feelings of needing to go back to studying, but I suppose I could have said, I need to go back to see my family. She would have understood that. Instead, I just sighed and listened as she jumped from marriage to having children and the ‘the ecology of children being born with disabilities.’ I really love listening to babas, even if some of their topics of discussion are predictable… Dashing, leaping and diving around puddles, we departed paths, she, to her children who live across the busy intersection, and I, on in my rainy day meandering. Alone, in my post-baba musings, I looked up from trying to keep my glasses drip free, and saw my surroundings in the dense gray setting, with everything muted, yet stoic. I couldn’t help but hear my surroundings whisper, “Look now. Soon this will all be a memory. Remember home well, because not even a pocketful of Metro Tokens will be able to get you back to this, your home.”

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