Some time has passed since I returned to Amsterdam. And the dust is beginning to settle. Or maybe it’s not dust and more a misty rain – not the weather you hoped for, but somehow still refreshing and welcome.
Before I left Suriname, I told some partial truths. My emotional state (I only cried in front of a couple of people, don’t worry) and abrupt plans to leave required some explanation, of course. But the actual explanation did not necessarily fit into Surinamese cultural norms. A place where dogs never go inside and cats are mainly misunderstood street wanderers, Suriname was not as sympathetic to the needs of my ailing cat as you may have hoped or expected.
“You’re CAT?” This was the reaction from the first two or three people to hear the true reason for my return to Amsterdam. They had this way of emphasizing “CAT,” perhaps hoping I actually referred to my AUNT named Cat. Or as if I had said, “I have to return to Amsterdam because my blankie got a tear.”
“Your BLANKIE?” – now that reaction I would understand.
But I didn’t appreciate the judgmental responses that implied my CAT was somehow less important than whatever I could accomplish during those remaining weeks in Suriname. And though I may have been overly sensitive and took the reactions of people with genuinely poor hearing too personally, I decided my bleeding animal-lover heart should stand on guard. So I started telling others that a family member was gravely ill. And I just needed to be in Amsterdam for her. No one asked questions beyond that, for which I was thankful. Because as I left it, I hadn’t lied. I just, uhh, shaded.
And since I’ve been back, I’ve barely told anyone I’m here. Not that it’s a secret. It’s just easier if things remain quiet for a bit. During this time when I was supposed to be in Suriname, accomplishing all types of magical, thesis-related research and writing, I have gone somewhat underground, off the grid, minding my own, re-grouping. Living a comfortably homeless life until my apartment is available again (I was able to infringe on Zora’s accommodations when my lovely friend and her daughter were also willing to take me in), I have been going from the guest room to the library almost every day. Rates of productivity may still waver. But my focus has been brand new. This quiet return has been good for me.
As for Zora, she’s not graceful yet. But her recovery has been. We’re both adjusting to her new circumstances. And the future on 3 legs looks quite bright. I can’t tell you how much I appreciate all of the well-wishes that have been sent our way. It’s helpful to know that not everyone thinks I’m a hot mess with a torn blankie and poor judgment.
As for my apartment, I move back in tomorrow. And all I want to do is sleep in my bed for 23 hours.
As for Suriname, plenty of stories were lost in my poor time management and bad news shuffle over the last couple of months. I just have so much more to say and do related to the subject. And I will share, I will. But for now, I’ve realized that the month I spent in Suriname blew some major doors off their hinges. And the direction of this already complicated life path has shifted yet again.
As for this new path I’m on…I see sunshine ahead. Lots of it.
2 thoughts on “Quiet return to Amsterdam”
Glad you’re back with your Zora and that she’s doing OK. I sometimes get that reaction when I talk about Cleo like she’s my significant other. Some of what you wrote reminded me of this Fiona Apple letter that got so much publicity here in the U.S. I know it will resonate with you – it was what she wrote about cancelling her tour dates to be with her dying dog: https://www.facebook.com/photo.php?fbid=486858768014508&set=pb.191278307572557.-2207520000.1353437132&type=3&permPage=1
Wow, thank you Joshunda. This absolutely resonated. Especially this: “Sometimes it takes me 20 minutes to pick which socks to wear to bed.
But this decision is instant. These are the choices we make, which define us. I will not be the woman who puts her career ahead of love and friendship.” Yes, absolutely. And lots of love to you and your love, Cleo!