It takes me approximately 33 minutes from my house to feel like I’m in the country.
Urban dictionary – obviously the source of all knowledge – defines the country as:
Not like the city because it’s quiet, not like suburbia because you don’t feel like you’re going to explode due to boredom and utter lack of greenery (lawns not withstanding)
A generally quiet region of the world many people choose to live in due to it’s tranquility and closeness with nature. Sometimes refered to as and are actually similar to “the boons” and “the bush” or “the sticks”.
A.K.A: Middle of Nowhere.
What we learn from Suburbs, Country and City is that there IS NO PERFECT PLACE TO LIVE.
Now, y’all, bear in mind that urban dictionary is a website where you can add your own ideas, thoughts, and definitions to any imaginable of word or phrase. So. You know. Take it with a grain of salt.
I decided for a late afternoon Saturday drive today for one major reason: why not? I mean, it was a sun-shiny sort of day, a little too windy for my personal taste to hit the running trails, and mom and I had just finished our pedicures. Ending the day with a drive sounded like the most wonderful idea.
Friday evening had been spent in the midst of people, cars, lights, noise, traffic, and all that city culture in Denver. Jessica and I met at the corner of the Museum of Contemporary Art for an evening of dinner (at a dingy, perfectly loud, bustlin’ bar called My Brother’s Bar) and an exhibit showing at the museum that highlighted pieces containing shea butter, wax, and thin leopard skin materials. It was….well, it was weird. But it was also really fun and Jessica and I had a great time. I like doing new things like that.
But while I do love all of the great things cities gives us, I like also getting away just for a bit. Even if it only takes us around 20 or 30 miles, it’s sometimes just really joyful and refreshing to get a breath of fresh air.
People love asking what I missed the most about America in Rwanda.
The list is a’plenty, I mean hello. Cheese, family, consistent internet, food variety, and running water. But, another thing that tops my personal list is the ease and ability to get away. Particularly in a car.
I now have one of those big machines (a car, if you will) that I would only see one time per day (if that) when I was in the village. On top of that, I have as many roads as you could dream of. So, mom and I came home from the salon, I packed my bag with a camera and my journals and went.
I didn’t press the gas until my “classic roadtrip playlist” was going and I had my sunglasses on. And, um, okay, it wasn’t as romanticized as I might make it sound. For one, I usually wear these transition lenses when I’m driving that also make me look like I’m well over fifty years old. My water bottle spilt all over me as I reached my first stop sign out of the neighborhood. That’s just me sometimes. I’m a bit (or a lot) of a klutz.
I headed south on 83, Parker Road, towards and past Franktown. It’s a nice area, full of long yellow grass and hilly paved roads. I attempted to visit Castlewood Canyon State Park, but they were closing soon after I arrived and so I thought, oh what the hell, let’s keep going. I drove some more. And it was awesome.
I spend a lot of time alone, you know. Going to work, hitting the gym, reading books, and watching Netflix. Even as an extreme extrovert I have become accustomed to time alone. That was a big part of my life in Rwanda. However, it’s important to spend time alone that is more than that. It’s important to think, to reflect, to get a grip of yourself. As best as you can. And that’s why I like going on drives – I slow down, just for a bit.
I came back and prepped for my daily hot bath.
I called Divine, back in Rwanda, and the sound of her voice does nothing but bring the biggest smile to my face. I have missed her infectious and loud laugh. She sounds so, so fulfilled with her studies and new school.
She’s doing so well. She tells me about her new friends, her classes, and her family. It’s weird, because I can at least relate to all of that. I know her, and I knew a great deal about her life. She tells me situations or funny happenings from the last week and I can get a picture of it in my head.
The hard part comes when I try to describe and give the details of my life now. That Saturday drive, for example, where do I begin?
The hard part – and really the hardest part of this whole adjusting thing – is relating to people on both sides of spectrum.
To explain my village life to Americans – how?
To explain my life back in America to Rwandans – how?
Divine doesn’t know a life of cars everywhere. Divine doesn’t know a life of CARS, period. She has never lived in a place with seemingly unlimited, paved road. She’s never been a part of a culture that has the mentality where you can just pick up your things and just go. Her life has no context for this. Her life isn’t less than mine; it’s just a great deal of things that are a part of my daily life now are not things she can easily draw up in her mind. She tries, I know, but the disconnect is there.
Words fail us sometimes. We just simply can’t describe everything we encounter in our lives.
But what I have always loved about Divine is that she tries harder to understand than most people I know. And so I tried telling her about my love for going in the “country” and for just going by myself to have some time to think. She laughed a little. And I expected that.
But, when I told her about getting my nails done with mom, what I didn’t expect, was her immediate ability to contextualize.
“Yes, sometimes in Rwanda we have that place. The salon. It is in the city. They have the color you can put in your nails. It makes you feel very nice. Very beautiful.”
Girl you got it. Never underestimate the power of people to try. No, we don’t always understand where people are coming from.
The way we overcome that is by trying.