Tuesday, July 15, 2014


I've been wanting to write. I must have started this entry 8 times, and every time I delete it before I hit the second paragraph. In fact, I'm already resisting the urge to delete this, only one sentence in. The prospect of trying to describe returning to the US and readjusting to being here is daunting and makes me feel overwhelmed. How can I do any of it justice? So many reunions with family and friends, a whirlwind first few days back during which I ate whatever I wanted (mostly items that weren't readily available to me in Cal), slept at odd hours, and was regularly flipping through the photos on my phone that made me feel some immediate sense of comfort - my laundry drying on the roof of No. 5, photos of me with women from Durbar, Kumkum and Lalita reading me a Bengali children's book, Laura and I at Sunshine, with the backdrop of colorful stacks of clothing and scarves all the way to the ceiling behind us.

After the novelty of being back in The States and having access to anything and everything I conjured up in my mind wore off (Wawa coffee, Chipotle burrito bowl, Old Bay wings, the novelty of walking into an air conditioned pharmacy and knowing where every single thing would be, etc.) and after the hugs were given and time marched on as I spent time with my family, I settled into where I am now. A sort of limbo where I wish I was in Calcutta, but I don't. I miss all of the things that were familiar to me there, but I'm also glad to be here in Dewey Beach for the week, where familiar is an understatement, as barely anything has changed since my childhood.

Obviously, my bones and heart ache to be closer to the Rey family. Though since my arrival in the US, I feel even closer to them. I was able to get the letter that Nirmal wrote to me translated word for word. A huge thank you to Meenakshi, my former coworker and friend, who's brother-in-law's cousin was able to translate it word for word for me. The translation blew me away and made the gears in my heart lock up as I was reading it. One of the sentences said, "We cannot give anything beyond our love and if we could have had Kristen to stay with us, we would have been very happy." I told Laura that I thought my heart would burst, and I still feel that when I read the letter. While I was there Kumkum and Lalita taught me a song/hand game called Zim Zam Zoom. At the beach this week I taught it to Kylie, and we were able to take a video of us doing it and I sent it to Laura, who will show it to the girls.

I have photos of reunions with family, I attended a beautiful wedding 3 days after I got home at the most grand and opulent venue in Wilmington, and I have so much more to write about. Sadly, my time at Starbucks on Rehoboth Ave must come to an end, because my laptop battery is about to die.

Bottom line: It's overwhelming to adjust to life back in The States. I can't decide this is harder than it was to acclimate when I first arrived in Calcutta. Maybe that was overwhelming on a sensory and cultural level for me, while this is more overwhelming on an emotional level. I have much more to say about this, and I will as soon as I have more reliable wi-fi.

For now, I'm off to continue my jetlag recovery and cuddle up to the best niece in the world. I'll be back with more thoughts soon.

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