(As requested, a photo of camera-shy yours truly, still in Varanasi when this was taken.)
We arrived in Goa five days ago and walked into our old, familiar house late at night. Miriam had given a lot of her own time and cleaned our bedrooms so they wouldn't be horribly moldy. There was a sign that said "Welcome Family!" with a frangipani flower from the garden, sheets on the bed. Truly, she's a wonder. I was tired from the night train, a day in Delhi, a flight that was cut in half by a stop in Mumbai. My heart was thumping all over the place, confused by a long, skinny ribbon of feelings.
We hugged and kissed Miriam, then collapsed into bed.
The next day Jaya was here in the morning, which was unexpected. I thought she was getting married, thought she wouldn't be around. But the wedding is off. It was her choice- she found that the man was untrustworthy. She walked over ready to work. It didn't take long for me to say yes.
The sea welcomed us like old friends.
My heart is like a small confused child, not sure whether she is happy or sad, tired or hungry. We slip back in here, almost like we didn't leave. Except now most of our things are gone from this house. The only things that remain will stay with the meditation center when we are gone: the furniture, kitchen things. We have a few toys with us, a few books.
And we have this new Thai class twice a week, over Skype. We are sluggish, far away from hearing all the sounds of Thai spoken in the street every day. But these lessons are signs that our life has changed, though we turn in circles, linking old days with new ones.
"You were born here," I tell Solo.
The garden is wild, needing some hedge clippers to turn it back from a jungle into a garden. I love how quickly trees grow in the tropics, if they can escape fungal disease, that is. The mango has grown another foot. Some of the climbing flowers are dead. The landlord once again mistakenly carted away my precious compost pile. In the next days we'll sit and plant seeds together.
The air is wet, wet. It is so unbelievably humid, and I've come to realize that humidity is sensory overload for me. I've learned to stand it, not to react too much, but it's like soft touch, all the time. It is deceptive. I can't tell whether I'm cold or hot. My body has reacted by getting coming down with sickness right away, and I am resting, now, trying to keep from getting sicker, from letting any kind of bronchial cough invade me again.
I don't want to be sick- we have only six weeks here and so much to do, so many people to see. So many old familiar places to visit. These are the things I can't plan. Maybe rushing in would have been a bad idea. I would have been off on my scooter, in search of the perfect fish curry, rice. Maybe a couple of slow days will be okay, my mind tells me, and if my sinuses would just calm down and stop hurting, my body would agree. (It was nice to lay around and check out election news today (as well as crazy tweets from Donald Trump). Over here in India, we're happy about the results.)
We've seen all the neighbors, spoken with the shop owners, hugged old traveling friends. Today I found my friend somewhere along the road when I was off to buy the palak. We both stopped our motorbikes, got off and hugged, hard. She spoke of going back to her home in Iceland this summer, after three years, how she found that she loved the North again. How the Autumn colors delighted her. Canada, I think. My heart breathes it out. If only I could go for just a few moments, just to feel the air on my skin, air like nowhere else.
Just as my heart breathes India when I am away, breathes Thailand now, looking forward to get back and nest and get ready for this baby. I am all caught up and tied into the air from many different places. I write it down and remember it all, but I can't have it all at once. I am so blessed to have any of it at all.
It has occurred to me, friends, that my life is very weird and very wonderful.