One year. It’s hard to believe. So much has changed in twelve months, yet so little. Some days I feel like I’m striding, and others I feel like I’m stuck in quicksand. Some days I want to stay here forever, and other days I’m calling home crying.
I think back to what a local Cape Verdean told me, “After living here for two years, you will always be a Cape Verdean.” He said that no matter where life takes me, I will carry a part of Cape Verde with me. I’m starting to think he’s right. There’s something about this place, these people, this culture that quiets your cravings and satisfies your wants.
As I’m writing this post, my 8-year-old neighbor, Marcelo, is sitting in my room playing with a ball and drawing pictures of his dream house. Maybe that’s what it’s all about. Not about saving the world, but about making friends, young and old. About learning, listening, and adapting – about relationships. The people of Cape Verde have taught me about happiness from the inside out, about satisfaction from simplicity.
If I had to sum up in a sentence what I’ve learned this year, it would be a few words from Wordsworth, “Bring with you a heart that watches and receives.” Through observation and adaptation, we learn. We help. We live side by side. Isn’t that the point of it all?