It’s late, and I’m tired, and I can’t get back to sleep. So I am up and writing again. Sifting through thoughts that come in the nights, when the day and all of its distractions have passed. I’m back in South Africa again. At last. I arrived somewhere around 04h30, having said goodbye to Katherine on the other side of the world. Long distance relationships are a bitch sometimes.
It’s raining here now. Proper rain for the first time in weeks reminds me that I am indeed back in the highveld. In Johannesburg. My brother referred to it on the way back from the airport as home. I laughed and retorted something about home starting to feel like it means wherever I’ve just come from. The concept is starting to dissolve completely – and it’s uncomfortable. Being able to work from a wide range of places has meant, of late, that I have been to a wide range of places. I’m returning now, but it doesn’t feel like it’s to home anymore.
I’m going back to Grahamstown, it’s true. But to a different house this time. A bigger one. With a garden. And shared with a digsmate I have yet to meet and her two dogs. I love dogs. I haven’t had a digsmate before. It’ll be an interesting year, and I’m quite sure I will write about it.
If I am honest, though, there is also the fact that I need to confront the journey again in order to put those stories together.
I’m returning this time to pursue an MA in media studies at Rhodes. They let me in after I passed my diploma in journalism well last year. If I have a choice, I want to try and use the research component to pursue some of the stories of reconciliation from Uganda in more detail. To go back to Gulu again sometime this year. I feel as if I have unfinished business there.
Because I do, I think. So muchof it. I’ve not yet posted a single story from the gigabytes of images, video and interviews that I have. I will. I must.
I’m waiting until I am back in Grahamstown in a week or so, to finish editing on my far stronger computer there. There there will be much to post.
If I am honest, though, there is also the fact that I need to confront the journey again in order to put those stories together. I need to listen to all of the interviews once more. To relive the time there. And I am hesitant. Still sorking up the nerve.
Because, in truth, between jumping from a mattress on the floor of a house in Gulu to the streets of London and its wholly different moral and material universe, I’ve yet to process anything. I feel as if all I have done is accrue a massive set of information, sights, feelings, half-formed thoughts on dozens of fundamental ideas of what this world is, what it means to me and what I am in it.
I need to let the dust settle. Take a deep breath. And begin at the beginning.
Words written here or elsewhere are useful only when they come from ideas whose time has come, whose shape is known. I have so many right now that it’s hard to get a grip, define them and write them out.
But write them out I will. I must. Grahamstown is small and secluded – an hour and a half from the nearest major town. In that, it can be almost monastic to study there. It’s a beautiful place to sit with ideas and get to know them better. From those ideas will come the stories. From those stories will come change. And out of that change comes a wiser sense of self. One who will go to places and do things this year that, now, I am ill-placed to imagine.
And so, ironically, it’s at the end of a December break that I am looking forward to slowing down a little and reflecting at last. Drawing a breath on that long road to wherever I’m going.