Today I third wheeled it with my two best friends. As in, I hung out with two of my best friends who are also boyfriend and girlfriend. I don’t want to get into all of that. I simply wanted to say that it was nice to spend time with both of them. We haven’t done that in a long time, it gets a bit awkward sometimes, but today was really nice. It made me realize how much I’m going to miss them in less than a month.

Our other friend, the fourth member of our “family”, joined us about halfway through the gathering, destroying my third wheel status. This friend of mine is more what this post is about than my third wheeling.

This friend of mine just came back from Sri Lanka, where she was for a month. It’s changed her, I can feel it. It was something I knew was there but I couldn’t quite put my finger on. So when she was driving me home, I asked her if she thought Sri Lanka had changed her. I’ve been trying to ask her all the hard questions. All the ones nobody else knows to ask since they’ve never been in her situation before. All the ones I needed so badly for someone to ask me after I got home. All the ones that were left unspoken.

She said she notices the shallow complaints more. She said she feels like her family has changed, like her friends have changed. She says that those things that used to bother her, like horrible drivers, don’t bother her anymore. That they don’t seem significant enough to worry about anymore, not compared to the worries the people in Sri Lanka face. I pointed out then that the people in Sri Lanka don’t think their worries are worries, do they? To them, the lack of water, of the ability to speak English, of electricity, of technology–that’s not a problem. That is just their life, is it not?

She said that the people, the people, the people, seem so different. In my experience that’s code for me, me, me is so different and I’m too close to notice it.

She said going helped her realize that she wants to travel more. She said it helped her realize who her friends really are. That most of her friends who are here, at home, she couldn’t break down in front of in the same way that she did the friends she made in Sri Lanka.

I know that feeling, that’s the same feeling I had when I got home from Panama. Panama changed me. She asked me how it did, and I was as honest as I could be. It’s hard to put words to change.

It is strange, watching her struggle with the same feelings I struggled with when I got home from 2 months in Panama last summer, so completely changed. So much more who I really am.

It made me wonder what it will be like for me, when my two other friends return from their summers abroad. It’ll be different, I know. Harder than watching this friend, since my two others are on the same program I was. Their journeys will be–are–so much more similar to my own. It’s hard, watching change occur.

There is something though about my friend who went to Sri Lanka that unsettles me, and even after asking the difficult, the need to be asked questions, I still don’t feel better. I feel as if something is going to happen.

But this is life-when does something not happen?

The lights above my head are flickering right now. The storm outside is pounding its way into our lives.

I welcome it with an open heart.


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