Fast forward 10 days. Mara left. I spent the last week and a half knocked flat by a merciless full-body cold that started with a crippling fever and is still hanging on by a few coughs. Some would say I had it coming. There are many expressions for this–I was burning the candle at both ends, spreading my butter too thin, or, as my dad would ask, “Am I trying to get mono again?” My first response was denial, going along with my daily work and activities, but the cold fought back. We put on an incredible multi-trueque, I made 50+ veggie hamburgers for Mara’s goodbye party. I went to school. But when I finally surrendered, I was forced to spend a couple of days watching the sun rise and set through the crack of my door on the rooftop. I had to forfeit my trip to Juarez and submit to three days of significant rest.
This blip in time leaves me less than a week away from my symbolic return to the U.S. at the conclusion of my fellowship year (don’t worry, I’ll be back in Mexico City ten days later). I mean it’s my home, at least for the moment. I find this return so distinct from the one I faced six months ago. So many doors have opened, passions restored and talents awakened. The last few months have steadily marked change and growth on my part, a blossoming of sorts, to be sure. The landscape of Northern Virginia and those struggles now seem so distant, and the processes and opportunities and inspirations on this side of my life so infinite. My feet sprouted roots and I feel like I can’t take a step forward until I give myself the chance to keep reaching up. What I mean is I’m grounded here and I couldn’t feel better about my decision to not move on just yet.
In the next few weeks, the Casa will welcome Siena Mann to its ranks as the 2014-2015 Haverford Post-Bac Fellow. As always, the Casa changes week-to-week, and it’s exactly that which makes it a miraculous place. People move on from it, but not really. And the Casa doesn’t move on either. It’s a many decades project, and a transcendent space which I encourage every single person in their lifetime to get a chance to know. The stories here are endless, hilarious and often tragic. It’s hard to imagine myself moving on any time soon for good, but for right now a little bit of geographical distance, a short break, and some family time sound too good to be true. Especially since its summer in Virginia and blueberry season.