A year ago, I lived in a mansion. It was beautiful. I spent my days attending and complaining about classes, studying networking and power games. I challenged the ideals of western philosophy just because I could. I learned how to dress for success and which fork to use for which course in order to impress potential clients or employers. I worked in an office and drank really good coffee all day long as I wrote long research reports and talking points. I developed a serious case of hero worship for all advocates everywhere and pondered where I would go to get my master’s degree. I spoke English and engaged in effortless political debates with my friends and classmates as we poured over the newspaper before breakfast. 4.0 was the perfect number. At the end, I was told that I was ready to take my place in the halls of power and be part of a new generation of Canadians working for God/country and country/God (I was never sure which was first). I ate good food, was a principled vegetarian, and thought I was ready for real life.
Now, I live in a two room apartment that has barely enough room for me, let alone guests. I often feel like I am on a two year camping trip. I am usually dirty and covered in bug bites. I wear sunblock, rapidly fading tank tops and shorts, and worn out flip flops everyday. I eat a lot of boiled or deep fried roots and rice and have become an expert at collecting rain water to drink. I am learning to see my heroes as people just like me, human beings with clay feet; although I learn everyday about what a thirst for knowledge looks like from my friend with a grade three education who dreams of law school. Spilling food all over myself is a common occurrence, especially when eating with others, as electric fans, cats, dogs, small children and the act of attempting to pick out fish bones with a spoon usually end up flinging food everywhere. I consider my day a success of I can understand meetings enough to participate in them, let alone network. There are no newspapers in my town, yet local gossip works surprisingly well and everyone has a story about the terror often associated with politics. I’m not really that big a fan of my country right now and I don’t really want to talk about God right now. Coffee is served in tiny plastic cups, and is equal parts sugar and stale grounds. I don’t think I know what real life is anymore.
(PS: I have no more stitches and am walking/running around like a normal person again! I can almost do yoga!)