The “Other” Side

by Tiya

I landed in Toronto yesterday afternoon. I may be a little jet lagged, since I woke up twice this morning – once on 4AM and again at 6AM. I’m hoping that if I am, it won’t be for too long. In this post are a couple of pictures I took at my older brother’s house.

It doesn’t matter that I’ve been flying since before I could walk – I’ll always find it strange that one day I can be in a different part of the world than I am today. Once all the airports, plane food, and restless flights are over and I get to where I needed to go, everything feels so surreal.

I’ve often said that I wish I could split myself in half, so one can be in one place and another place at the same time. But that fact is, (and I just started thinking about this recently) that I am split in half. Obviously, not in a physical sense. Bits and pieces of myself are…everywhere. Every place I have left remnants of my memories and emotional attachments, part of myself stays there.

Leaving Uganda this summer to head back to Kutztown felt like I was starting Freshman year all over again. I don’t know what to expect when I go back. I have friends there, great friends. But that doesn’t keep the homesickness at bay. In the meantime I’m trying to mentally prepare myself for the things ahead, even though I do not have a clue what will happen. I have already caught myself subconsciously thinking about what everyone is doing back in Uganda. My mind wanders back to the dry, red dirt roads of Kampala, the lush wetlands where my house is next to. The colors of birds and flowers alike are added to the painting as well, and I can almost hear the busy traffic among the streets with Matatus and Bodas. Almost 13 years ago, I never thought I could miss this when I leave. I’m not sure whether it’s the atmosphere that I miss or the people. Perhaps I am “peoplesick” instead of homesick. I don’t really know where home is anymore. But the last thing I want is for anyone to take pity on me. I wouldn’t change my childhood for anything.

How many people can say, “By the time I was eighteen, I’ve lived in three to four countries”? Many that I know of, but so many more who I don’t know of. I have friends from every continent (except Antarctica – the penguins will be on the list one of these days…) and I take all of this for granted.

When I tell people a very condensed version of my life story, my mind is blown by the fact that many of my friends at Kutztown have lived in the same houses all their lives. I cannot help but smile and shake my head in disbelief, followed by a chuckle that my life and theirs are so different.