I remember some words that Marie said to me.  Though that gives her too little credit.  Because in truth I remember a lot of words that Marie said to me.  Because her words more than any others stuck with me though this journey.  Because Marie was fucking brilliant.

But these words were for when I was old.  And even though Marie would nickname me “Grandpa” a few days later, I was still young then.  Or at least I still thought I was.

But the words she said were, “It’ll be strange going back to normal life.  To not see something new everyday.”

Simple words.  And simple ideas.  But they were ideas that I didn’t understand.  Or at least not really.  Because while Marie was at the end of her journey, I was just beginning mine.

Because I never needed to see something new everyday.  That wasn’t why I left.  If it had been, I would have left sooner and for longer.  I had my own reasons.  Reasons that became clearer and easier as the journey went on.  And somehow I didn’t include those rediculous notions of life experience and growing up.  But those happened too.  And seeing something new became addicting.  New people.  New places.  And I will miss it.  So much.  Because I know the addiction now.

But now it seems like so long ago.  When Marie said those words.  The days of Cuyabena.  Laying on hammocks and watching the rain come down.  Sharing stories of the people in our lives.  The way Marie’s face would light up when she talked of her boyfriend and forcing her father to eat vegetables.  And I would wonder about my own face and the people and the stories that it lights up for.  (And I’m not sure that I even know.  Because I don’t think Marie did.)  And we would talk about our futures.  And food.  Because the food at the lodge could be less than satisfactory.

Though five months is not such a long time.  But I have known no five months longer.  No five months that were more intense.  No five months that were more difficult.  No five months that were more brilliant.  No five months that were more overwhelming.  These were the best five months that I ever had.

And another memory.  One of my last days in India my cousin asked if American culture was all about having fun.  It wasn’t meant as a nice question.  But one of anger.  Anger at the culture I chose and continue to choose.  Anger at my lack of religion.  Though I have more faith then ever.  But my answer was that people are more complicated than that.  All people.  And I could have told him more.  About how some Americans think Indians all worship cows and live in huts.  But he wasn’t really interested in my answer.  Because sometimes people just need to express their anger.

But his question did interest me.  Because I have known five months that were more fun. The last five months I spent in San Diego.  And five months I spent in Vacaville before I moved to San Diego.  And five months in high school.  But fun isn’t the reason I love those time periods in my life.  The people are.  And they are the reasons that I am glad to be back.

And so it is time for gratitudes.  Because there were some rough days out there.  So thank you.  To the people who gave me so much support in this.  Parents.  Sisters.  Friends.  My roots. To everyone that emailed even if I didn’t email back.  People who gave me reasons to come home.  Because even though the days of Dead Man’s Corner are past there will be new days.  And new dead men.  And people who I haven’t talked to much in years.  For inspiring me more than you’ll ever know.  And everyone who has read or commented on my blog.  And people who have their own blogs that give me inspiration to keep writing my own.  And the people of Mexico for making the best food and bringing it to California.

And lastly to a certain girl that may or may not exist with a compass tattooed on her arm…

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