Sunday morning. It had been 3½ months since I left the US and I badly needed a haircut. Where does one get this done in Lubutu? Sure there are barber shops and salons de beauté here, but I doubt anyone has much experience cutting thin, straight, blondish hair. Fortunately, Dominique Beels, a Belgian expatriate, assured me she is an expert in this area. She practiced cutting hair on her three brothers over the last several years and she is willing to help me, too.
So at 11 a.m., in the Equatorial sun, I sat outside in the back yard of Couvent wearing only a bathing suit. Dominique came bearing scissors and a comb, apologizing before she even began. At the first snip a big hunk of hair fell to the ground. No turning back! Thank goodness Dominique was able and willing to do this, as I would be doing the cutting myself if she were not. Still, I miss my regular barber and the chat we have every 6 weeks.
I like to think of myself as an adaptable person. I've travelled extensively, one time for a year continuously. I've never before felt the need to be homesick, but this time it is a little different. There are several things I miss about my life at home.
First, of course, is Kurt. I miss him terribly. He is my best friend and spouse. I miss talking and laughing with him. I even miss our "discussions." He's a classical musician and I love attending performance where he is playing. I miss our talking about classical music and learning an evening's program before he plays it.
Living in a group is difficult. I miss my lovely home and the privacy of its walls. In Albuquerque, I can shut the doors and curtains and all is quiet. No one bothers me. I can sit outside on the back porch and no one wants to talk or hear about my day. I can eat in peace. Living in Couvent, it is difficult to ever be alone. Even with my bedroom door and the window shut, noises intrude.
Concretely, there are several things I crave—ice cream, seeing a film in a movie theatre, yogurt, good coffee, walking and playing with our dogs, Indian food, frozen margaritas, garlic, good fresh fruit. None of these things are here.
After an hour in the blazing Congo sun, my haircut was almost complete. As Dominique cut away, I talked to her about all the things I missed while living here in Lubutu. She told me her own story. After a few months here, she scheduled a vacation in Belgium. Before leaving Congo, she swore she would eat ice cream every day once she got to Europe. She was home for 10 days and guess what? She ate it once. We all crave what we can't have, right?
I'm all grown up and I'll be fine but a chocolate sundae with a frozen margarita on the side would be perfect right now.