Friday, February 8, 2013


I like to journal. Or, rather, I like to glue paper-type things into the small stack of booklets that have collectively become my journal. Mostly transport stubs and wrappers and bits of packaging. Sometimes things that people give me - drawings of the world, for example, or photos, or post-it notes. 

My first journal in Senegal was a gift from a good friend. It was a nice size, had lined off-white pages and a very world-traveler-looking leather cover thing, which I like. I labeled it "Senegal"and when I'd filled it up completely with receipts, swatches of snack food packaging and my semi-legible scrawl I cut a little paper-bound Moleskine notebook that my mom gave me down to fit in the cover thing, printed "Senegal con't" on the cover and kept going. I'm working on the last few pages of "Senegal con't con't" now and have another one lined up and ready to go. 

Most of what I write is boring, little more then what I did that day and what I plan to do in the near future. Sometimes there are vicious little diatribes about whatever has recently struck me as awful and there's a fair amount of cataloging of things that remind me of other things, which most things do. Short sentences are favored. Explanations and follow-able segues are not. I don't like to re-read it, unless I'm trying to go back to find the date for a specific event, because it has a tendency to read like the diary of a neurotic middle-schooler.

I wrote a lot more at the beginning of my service than I do now. I think that was mostly because everything was new and remarkable -- all the new places, all the new people, all that Mephaquin. Now, with only a couple of months left, most of the things that were once so novel have become routine. Instead of being shocked by the new I find myself jarred by the impending loss of the familiar - soon I will buy my last transport pass, be handed my last little drawing, make my last cup of tea in my hut, take my last Malarone, apply my last bit of antifungal cream. Funny, how you can be nostalgic for the present.

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