The Doctors Without Borders headquarters in New York sent me an email last week. I am booked on a flight from Barcelona to New York on Friday April 13th. I have to go from Guatemala to Barcelona "on my way back" to New York for a Debriefing with the MSF-España staff. I will debrief the week of April 9-April 13th.
I am going home! I will smother my loved ones with kisses. New York in the Spring: the music, the books, the art, the sushi, the smell of urine in the subway! All the languages and smells and different-sized people everywhere. ... the creative geniuses crowding the streets, bumping into the brainless bigots and mentally ill ....There are at least 15 single-malt whiskys I´m dying to try up in Angel Share, on 9th St., near St. Mark´s. Then I'll walk over to Moishe's on 2nd Ave and eat some Triangles and a Babka or two. I am super excited (no ironic tone here--I am told it is hard to tell).
But, my excitement is not without ambivalence, I´m afraid. I will miss my fabulous teammates/housemates, who have been half temporary siblings and half best friends. What will happen to our clinic? To our patients? Also, as my remaining time here in Guatemala shrinks, a few ugly little thoughts nag my brain. For the last 8 months I have had to shamefully admit my citizenship to people who think of the US as a land of bullies, war-mongers, and money-grubbers, rather than the Land of the Free and Home of the Brave. Now I´m going back to commune with the bullies and money-grubbers. "The people are different than the government," I´ve said. Well, some of us are kind-of OK. Right? I think so. Whatever the truth may be, I need to rest my overworked shame receptors for a bit. They are so tired...
My life has changed while I have been away. I don´t have an apartment or house in the US, for example. And, oh yeah, I don´t have a job either. Freedom! Opportunity! Fear of Health Insurance lapse! United States--here I come.