Wednesday, October 1, 2008

A Funny Anniversary.

One year ago today, I found myself at Lester Pearson International Airport in Toronto, the departures lounge, Terminal 3. I was beyond exhausted and petrified. The check-in to the flight to Kathmandu via Delhi went smoothly. We visited Starbucks for our last refreshment stop on Canadian soil, and tried to use up our last few Canadian coins.

Strangely detached, I watched BG say goodbye to his baby sister. They clung together, tried to draw apart, and found that they could not make the break. I found myself dragging him through security -- I who had always said that it would be me that would be unable to take the first step. Catherine turned into her mother's arms for consolation, we saw, as we turned our backs to them and all that we knew.

When we emerged from the safety of the airplane bubble, we found ourselves in the dusty chaos of Kathmandu, and everything changed for us all at once. The cares of our old lives floated away as we cut the strings from the responsibilities we had. We missed our friends and families, met new people, and gradually learned that the two of us were an entity: a two-party system on a single journey. Our cares were now of day-to-day existence and of the possessions on our backs, though we soon found those excessive as well. Gradually we established routines and habits within the ever-changing path we had set ourselves on. Sometimes we couldn't wait to see what the world had in store for us. Sometimes we gobbled it up, hungrily, appreciating and seeing everything all at once. Sometimes we saw nothing and plodded through, our minds full, our bodies exhausted. Sometimes we did nothing and spent hours in a vacuum, despairing of all we had left behind and the idiocy of what we had done.

It hasn't been easy or smooth for us. We thought we knew each other, and we certainly thought we knew ourselves; I can say now that we didn't, and probably still don't, but we know more than we did. People are not static entities. Even today's self is different from yesterday's self. At the same time, there are some parts of a person that don't change and never will. The great Nelson Mandela has said that the hardest thing to do is not change society, but to change ones self. We left home believing that things about ourselves, about each other, and about our relationship would change, and we despaired when these seemingly heinous traits seemed to not only remain, but grow stronger. Learning to accept what we are and who we are has been the hardest challenge.

When I reflect on what we have done I can only marvel at our accomplishments. We have seen much, and we have done much. Not only have we seen the things we set out to see, we have also been challenged, overcome fears, and have learned -- new things, new skills, and things that we knew all along, but ignored.

Today I am very proud of what we have done together, what we have shared so far. We still have three months of traveling and working together through this journey, but today I am happy to give BG back to Catherine, his rock and his closest ally, as she steps off the edge and joins us in Africa.

Happy Anniversary to us.


Gustavo said...

Hey guys,

Great post! Congratulations. It is definitely an accomplishment and you should be proud of it. Being away from everyone and everything you have always known is not easy. Enjoy the rest of the trip.

Jen said...

Aw, Val, what a sweet post!

Christie said...

Wow. I can't believe it's a year already and you'll be wrapping up your adventure soon. Have a wonderful rest of your trip. :)

C and J said...

You're post brought tears to my eyes!! I miss you sister.