Thursday, October 3, 2013

What's Not to Miss?

The night before Logan and I were about to leave the first apartment we had together, I came down with a fever. The next day I would start a new job, spread a terrible cold around the office, and officially move back upstate with my parents. We had already moved our bed to the house over the weekend so I slept in Logan's arms on the floor, shivering me timbers. The place was empty except for the things we wanted to leave behind--a broken couch frame, hunter green walls, the roach nest. (Just kidding; the roach nest had been disbanded way before the move was even conceived.)

Before we moved our stuff out, I found myself taking pictures of random things in the apartment. So many terrible pictures with no artistic angles in mind made more terrible by the fact that I used a film camera and rolls of film would actually have to be taken somewhere to get developed. I did it in a desperate attempt to capture the little details that I knew I'd forget, for example, the last standing location of our floor lamp, the view from our fifth floor window, the different variations and stretches of space between me and the door. One day, I thought, I'd use those pictures as prompts to remember life at apartment 5G, how new it was, how fun it was, and how hard it was to leave. Sometimes, they may be sad and delirious, but all memories--good and bad-- are part of something bigger. Bigger, even, than a 600 square foot L-shaped studio.

I've already written about how everything I do is potentially the last time I do it. A friend of mine wonderfully put it like this:

"I'd like to not be sitting on the toilet in tears the last time I take a crap in my apartment but I can tell you for sure that that is exactly what is going to happen." 

He gets it. This is the point we're at right now, as Peace Corps Volunteers wrapping up our service. Even thinking about saying goodbye to the little things--whether it's the shampoo we buy, the scratchy toilet paper, or the Ukrainian deodorant we use that doesn't seem to work but it's our only option--is emotional. Maybe never wanting to forget how earthy the toilet paper makes me materialistic or delirious. I don't know. As I get ready to leave Melitopol, Ukraine, I feel the need to capture as much as I can, this time through blogging. I feel like this is the more responsible choice. Otherwise, I'd probably come back to America looking a little crazy as airport security asks me to open my suitcase only to find it's completely filled with toilet paper.

Mmm, roughage!
A little while back, my students asked me what I will miss the most about Melitopol. I thought about it, grew silent, and told them they weren't allowed to ask me that because I was going to cry. Today it snowed on October 3rd. It's freezing and there is no heat, the Teachers Day celebration at my school was canceled, the electrical socket in my living room is popping out of the wall, I dropped and shattered a plate in the kitchen, and I'm on fire. I know it may seem like I'm being sarcastic, but I'm really just trying to savor everything. At this point, toilet paper in hand as I blow my red nose and write this post, I'm genuinely thinking: what's not to miss?

1 comment: