As usual, I'll be doing my packing on the morning of my flight. As usual, I expect to lose items of clothing, and a few brain cells. I expect I won't be getting my hair braided though. I may or may not come back with Bintang singlets for various loved ones. (Ev's reaction to my suggestion that he'd love one: "...nahbro.")
Anyway, during the long and traffic-filled drive back from work today I thought to myself that it might be wise to take off the many bracelets I've been wearing on my left wrist for the past many months. After all, they're my constant reminder of South America, and I don't want their colour and thread to fade to oblivion in the sun and sand of Indonesia. However, immediately after thinking that taking them off might be a good idea, my heart began to race and my mood shifted in a big way. The thought of taking them off and saying goodbye to them (in a sense, as I won't be throwing them out) was both saddening and terrifying. Terrifying in less of a horror movie way, more in a NOICAN'TDOTHATYET kind of way.
|The ones that have lasted the distance.|
As you may or may not know, one of the things I acquired in South America was a bracelet in almost every city I went to. I came back with about eighteen/nineteen (at least three were lost along the way), and slowly they've dwindled to ten still on my wrist (and one on my ankle). I remember where each one was bought/found/given, and from whom, and in what circumstance. They all have a story, along with each location they represent.
My Santiago bracelet is a orange and green affair, lovingly made by Dani, the kind-hearted, hard-drinking Argentinean living at the Moai. He was one half of the Porteño double team, the other being Guillermo. I lived there for about a month, with them, Jesse, Taylor, and the other crazy Chileans that inhabited the sprawling house. I offered Dani money for the bracelets - he was selling them, after all - but he said that all he wanted from me was that I "do a favour for a stranger who needs it". In case you're interested, I did do what he asked, by rescuing a dog while in Chiloé.
My bracelet from Potosi is orange, yellow and blue, because those colours remind me of the tshirt worn most days by Sam, the English boy I was traveling with at the time. Salta's bracelet is a kind of vomit-coloured yellowy green, because I was nursing one of my worst hangovers in history that morning. Valparaiso is bright blue, because the sky and the sea and the street art of that town were just as bright. La Paz sports the colours of the Bolivian flag, Cordoba is the blue of the Argentinean flag (it was my first big Argentinean city taken on solo). And so on, and so on. When there weren't any guys on the street selling bracelets, I improvised. In Castro, I bought some mittens from an old lady, and I asked her for some wool. I've been wearing that around my wrist until today, when it broke while cleaning the coffee machine.
Am I being overly sentimental? Probably. Definitely. To be fair, I don't think that under normal circumstances I'd be feeling like this upon deciding to take off my bracelets. However, circumstances are somewhat out of the ordinary at the moment. Remi's in town. Anyone who knows me will have noticed my constant "REMI'S COMING SOON!" and "I CAN'T WAIT TO SEE REMI!" screeching in the days leading up to his arrival. Now that he's here, South American adventure memories seem to be continually rushing back to me. Places and things I hadn't thought about in months are suddenly front and center in my brain, as Remi and I constantly end up strolling down memory lane with a beer in hand. Oh MAN, do I miss it. I don't think I've ever missed anything like I miss the road in South America (more about that another time though).
Okay, I've taken three off. So far so good. I feel weird though. Like I'm doing something that can't be undone, something cheesy like that.
A few left on. I kind of have this feeling, along the lines of, "Euuuuurghhhh, I shouldn't have done this. I want them all to be back on again." I mean, it's probably the best move ... they're disgusting. They smell, they're faded and dirty and probably crawling with germs. But I don't want to not be wearing them.
Last one. It's the one from Cordoba ... the guy I bought it from burnt the ends together, so it wouldn't ever come off. Don't want to cut it. Will struggle for a bit.
Wrestled with the burnt knot for a while, then went into Ev's room and used a stanley knife to cut it off. Quite a moment, I'll say that much. I feel naked. I felt like I'd cut off a link to a part of me. Or something. Something like that. I definitely feel naked. And I have a giant tan line on my wrist. A very, very white patch between two brown bits.
The result. The tan line. The drama. Probably a much bigger deal than I should have made over something that really shouldn't be momentous in the slightest, but I can't help it if one of my best pals from Peru is here to reminisce with. COME ON. Extreme circumstances. Anyway, let's see if I can't even out this white patch while under the Balinese sun.