Monday, April 24, 2006

Plane ride home

Four weeks done and I’m finally going home. Part of me is sad, ‘cause this was probably my last great adventure before children and responsibility tie me down. Not that I’m not looking forward to having kids, I am. But the final death of ‘young adulthood’ is sad.

To me, the period between 18 and 30 should be when someone goes out to experience the world and everything in it. Education is a huge part of that – I’m not advocating skipping college or trade school or whatever other kind of training needed to be productive after 30. So I think those folks who just fuck off to ‘see the world’ are missing something huge – context for the experience. I think you have to know what you have (learning, experience, the privilege of US citizenship) in order to know what other people don’t.

But still, I think everyone needs some adventure. A semester (or year) abroad. Fluency in at least one foreign language. At least a visit to somewhere without all of the opportunities of the US and Canada. (An aside on Canadians – they seem to be much better at gaining perspective on the rest of the world. I think being a part of the British Commonwealth helps – those Canucks can work in places that US citizens have a hard time. And their public education doesn’t suck.) Time living somewhere where the health care is socialized and higher education doesn’t require mortgaging the house.

I think I’m a better person and a better citizen because of my non-US experiences. And I fell sorry for those who haven’t had the same opportunity. I also think those people who haven’t traveled are much more likely to vote for laws (or wars) that the rest of the world think are frankingly asinine.

So I’m sad. ‘Cause my time of adventure has just passed. After leaving residency there won’t be many more opportunities to run away to another country for an extended period. No more flying by the seat of my pants and the Lonely Planet guidebook. We hope for children and professional success and home improvement.

All of these are good things. And I look forward to them… but they don’t much allow for four weeks in a third world country.

I’m not saying there won’t be more vacations. That’s not right – I plan on dragging my poor, suffering and greatly understanding husband back to Guatemala to see everything I’ve seen. I met some outstanding folks who just started a pediatric clinic in Honduras that I want to help. I want to go to Belize with my hubbie – ‘cause it is supposed to be amazing there. I want to help the underserviced Mayan get routine pediatric healthcare more than once every two months – ‘cause you can’t get far if you’re deaf secondary to multiple untreated otitis medias.

On a total side note, lots of American couples travel to Guatemala to adopt. One such couple is sitting in front of me and they are such a pretty family. They obviously love their new son very much – his name is Brock. (Although he looks more like a Jorge.) He’s happy and smilely and his mother obviously can’t get enough of him. I would guess that Btock’s about 3 months old.

I wonder what questions he’ll ask in 18 years?

But back to my original point – I’m not like Karla. I really really envy some parts of her life. Not everything, mind, but some of her opportunities are astounding. My husband’s job won’t pull him overseas, and mine won’t either. Fate willing I won’t have problems with conception and our disposable income will go towards our kids. But even if we had similar problems, the cars and the skiing and the architecture we hope to create would probably preclude adventure. Not to mention neither my nor my husband’s profession is much predisposed to copious vacation time. And two or three weeks a year just isn’t enough time to properly adventure.

So I’m sad, ‘cause this is the last great fling. I’ve flown by the seat of my pants, seen the Holy Week of all Holy Weeks, slept in a room that would be classified as a screen porch state-side, avoided traveler’s diarrhea and helped treat patients who live on less money per day than I spend on one beer in a bar.

But I’m also obscenely happy – I’m returning to my husband, the land of hot water, A/C, drinkable tap water and busses that aren’t crammed with livestock, produce, cargo and more people than rationally fit. I also will no longer be tripping over chickens, which is nice.

‘Cause it ain’t Guatemala if there aren’t chickens, Gallo and busses. (Gallo is a beer – the most popular beer in Guatemala. It’s obscenely alcoholic, tastes like bad Bud and is everywhere, The nearest competitor is Brahva, which is less alcoholic but more flavorful. Needless to say, the clinic was right next to the Brahva brewery… and it was still easier to drink Gallo. Talk about near monopoly!)

I can’t wait to get back.

1 comment:

Karla said...

You'll be surprised at what life pulls out of the hat for you. I mean, I NEVER expected to be moved oveseas. I was gonna stay in Austin and that was that. Then suddenly we got movedto Norway, which all I knew about was vikings and snow?
We never had kids because he always traveled for work and I was damned if I was gonna do all THAT shit alone, but I always assumed that would work out ok (and I still do, to tell you the truth, because we really don't make the effort we should. And trying to explain the workings of the female cycle "No honey, it can't be tomorrow, I am ovulating NOW!" to a man is like trying to explain Easter to a Buddhist. (I tried that didn't work.)

But I'd also be ok without kids, I think.

I dunno. All's I'm saying is that lifethrows you things you wold never expect, and one thing i have learned ist hat there is ALWAYS time for what is important to you.....

Now we want pictures!!!!