Friday, October 24, 2008

Losing It

From "And the Words Poured Out..." the author's paper journal.

Thursday, October 16th 2008

I was really down yesterday. I realized that I don't feel Russian anymore, and it feels like part of me is missing. It's the most depressing feeling in the world. I remember how it felt, to be living there, to be part of that and to go to the district conference and be able to slip between cultures, though i really felt more Russian. And yeah, I can interact with Russian speakers here and I can remember my language, but I'm not Russian. I mean, not that I ever was or could be, but it's just this feeling, a sort of pride. Pride in the fact that you are comfortable in your language and culture, a language and culture that used to be so alien to you. The ability to be able to say "Well, this is how we do it in Russia," and I've lost it. My heart feels purely American and it makes me want to weep. Of all the things I was worried about losing/forgetting when I came back, I never thought it would be my sense of Russianness. I told mom last night and she said it doesn't mean I might feel that way again. I know that's true but I'm afraid that the only way I'll feel that way again is if I go back and who knows when that will be?

I wish I could describe it better than "empty"but it's sort of like that. It's this sort of sensation that you carry around with you and you don't realize how it filled you up or how heavy it was until it's gone. For some reason, I've always felt Russian as heavier than English. I don't know why. Now, with my Russian self gone, I feel too light, as if I'm just going to float away into the sky, or blow away with the wind. I dislike the feeling.

1 comment:

Jon-Michael Durkin said...

This is an interesting way to describe the situation, I think. For though as foreigners-- as outsiders-- we can never truly become part of the culture we do experience a unique viewpoint. By assuming an identity in a host family and in a community we make ties and bond with a variety of individuals.

In many ways, I'll be afraid to leave Japan just as I was afraid to leave JASC (a conference) because it's a once in a life time thing. I don't mean coming too and living in Japan, for certainly I shall someday return to this place (in fact, right after I leave I am coming back for a month). In Japan this feeling is referred to as いちごいちえ((ichigo ichie)ee-chi-go ee-chi-yay) or, "one time, one meeting." It's used in tea ceremony to describe the way that we meet. There will only ever be one of the current gatherings. Nothing can ever again be exactly the same. I fear ichigo ichie.