November 20, 2009
Doing some more catching up on the night of the 21st. Yesterday was a rather crazy day because I took another sleeping pill in the morning in order to knock myself out for the twelve hour bus ride. I had a cup of tea at breakfast in order to be awake enough to pack up my stuff, but as soon as possible after that, I fell asleep in the back of the bus curled up in two seats inside of my sleeping bag. I stayed asleep for most of the trip.
Anytime I did wake up, I felt very, very sick to my stomach and alternately really giddy or very depressed. I got up for a little bit of lunch and tried to be social a little bit, but it didn’t really work. I don’t remember much of the trip really, other than when we had to all get off the bus to ride the ferry across the Pangani River, so I had to wake up and go sit out on the ferry and then the ferry got overloaded and was kind of grounded at the dock and it took a very long time to get that all sorted out so that we could make it to the other side eventually.
When we got back on, everyone complained about how bad it smelled – the scent of too many fresh off safari wazungu all crowded together all day, so I was glad of my stuffy nose and sleeping pills!
By the time we reached the coast, it was dark and I was an emotional mess. The double dose of sleeping pills within twenty four hours had not been a good thing. I was very, very homesick, having a lot of stomach pain and was, as I told my father when he called later in the evening after Peggy lent me her phone to send a text, “very sad about the whole world”.
Thinking back on it, I was very, very sad about sea turtles and how they are endangered and this made me think about pandas and how they are dying too, which in turn led me to think about polar bears and how sad they are because all of their ice is melting like on the t-shirt my friend Molly has, which shows a cartoon of a very, very sad white bear standing sort of tip toe on a shrinking ice berg. I’m not really sure why the polar bears were the saddest thing I could think of, but they were and later that night I even had a dream that my littlest brother was very upset with me that I had gone all the way to Africa but hadn’t saved a single polar bear. I woke up from this dream crying!
After I talked to my dad, who was very nice and reassuring, I sat out in front of the baanda on the steps and waited for my mom to call. I was sitting out there, staring at the stars and crying when Kai walked by and asked what was wrong. I told him that I was fine and nothing was wrong, but clearly he didn’t buy it, so he came and sat down with me and gave me a hug, which of course meant I started absolutely bawling and explaining to him too that I was sad about the world and just wanted my mommy to call me! Eventually he calmed me down somewhat and I went in to try to sleep, though I was really, really upset that the Tanzanian cell minutes I had bought wouldn’t work with my Kenyan SIM card and it took me quite a while to fall asleep.
Eventually, around 11:45 East African Time, my mom did call! I was so happy to hear her voice, though I was rather incoherent in response to her questions. According to Rachel, (who unfortunately was also woken by the cell phone ringing), I answered my mother’s first question of “Where are you now?”, with the inexplicable and quite untrue answer of “I’m on a bus looking at plants!”, despite the fact that I was definitely laying on a very nice foam mattress in a wooden A-Frame on the coast. The conversation continued in much this same vein for quite some time and I commend my poor mother for sticking it out. It really helped to talk to her and hear her voice, even if I was being a total crazy and I feel bad for worrying her – she must’ve been more than a little freaked out to know that I was so out of the loop and so far away without a thing she could do about it!
This delightful little anecdote explains clearly, I’m sure, why I don’t normally like taking even drugs that I’m supposed to take as prescribed to me by my doctor and even the students on the trip who’ve previously given me a bad time about my choice not to partake in mind altering substances of various degrees of legality now very much respect my choice not to do so, given that something as innocent as sleeping pills has the ability to turn me into a raving crazy.
That said, I don’t think I’ll ever be able to apologize enough to Lydia and Rachel for spending most of the night bawling about being homesick, the sadness of the whole entire world and of course, mostly just the depressed polar bears who are drowning because their ice keeps melting because we humans are destroying the planet.
As off right now, I don’t think the meds have quite worn off yet, so the world still seems like a sad place, especially for polar bears, but I’m definitely not on a bus looking at plants, so I seem to be at least taking a right step in the return to a normal thought process.