I came across photos from my time in Peace Corps today. I was caught, squirming uncomfortably at 30,000 feet in a prop plane of questionable vintage, somewhere between Riga and Vilnius – too tall to snuggle down and sleep, too groggy from a 4:30 a.m. start to do much more than poke around on my laptop looking for trouble.
Hundreds of bright little rectangles, hidden behind taupe icons, disappointingly resplendent in their inability to convey the times they captured in the point-and-shoot glory of 10-whole megapixels. Patterns of villages and landscapes. Few people. A collection of postcards. Meant to tell or justify something to someone. Capture a culture or people in some sort of half-artistic visual anthropology, perhaps. Put me in a place for those left at home, definitely. But if so where was I? And, where was the ex with whom I’d shared those years – where were our creations? Not to mention the others who evolved into friends and family. The ones with whom I worked and played and who have since been relegated to facebook pics snapped surreptitiously from phones.
Food for thought.
And it all suddenly stops when I decided to stop being a tourist, stay, and start the Foundation. Not that I lost my sense of wonder – it just shifted. Who really looks at home?