Packing up to leave my home is by far the hardest thing I ever had to do. True, I have moved around a lot. But this move, two years ago, was different. I was not going away to school or to temporarily live with some relatives. This was a complete move to a brand new home. A place I knew nothing about. I was turning over a new leaf.
I wore a brave face even though it was terrifying. As I trimmed down my earthly belongs into two suitcases, I fought back tears with every energy in me. I did not want to leave anything behind. Everything I owned symbolized a memory I desperately needed to hold on to in that moment.
My heart broke as I glanced around the room at the warm familiar faces. I had no idea when I would them see again. The hugs, kisses and presents did not exactly help. I felt horrible. I could not help but wonder whether I would meet people as cool as my old friends. What if I would not be able to connect with anyone in my future life?
I smiled and laughed with friends and family at the airport. We made light of the situation. But saying goodbye as the flight was announced, was like watching a thug repeatedly sticking a sharpened blade into his victim’s heart. I smiled my most convincing smile as I waved goodbye and turned to walk away, steamy tears gushing down my already burning face.
An exhausted despondent version of me stood on the escalator. My suitcases right at my feet. All I could think of was a nice warm shower and a place to lay my head.
I had cried myself out between my departure from Nairobi, Kenya and my destination Manitoba, Canada, roughly 27 hours later. I desperately wanted to lie down and forget it al.
Then suddenly, I heard it!
Ululations, cheers and laughter.
At first, I was not bothered to look up. But then I thought I heard my name, or the semblance of it. Slowly, I tore my eyes from my Facebook page, reluctantly turning towards the celebratory noises. They looked so happy and excited to see me. I had never met them before. But some of them were familiar from the pictures I had seen and stories I had been told.
Despite my semi-depression and fatigue, I was able to smile and wave back at them. Mom’s friends helped me drag my bags from the airport. They showered me with warmth, hugs and cheerful laughter all the way home.
Surprisingly, turning over a new leaf did not seem like such a terrifying idea anymore. Once again hot tears cascaded down my eyes, only this time, they were happy tears.