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!)
1 comments on “Real Life”
Anna, this is a wonderful post, an honest reflection on how our self-awareness and identity is a product of our environment more often than we realize or want to admit. Thank you for sharing, and I’m so glad to hear that your knee is slowly returning to health and activity!