17 December 1998

(Light Green Journal Excerpt 3: Semester At Sea)

And into that towel sitting across my lap in that tiny bathroom, I watched my hair fall in soft brown chunks. I laughed as I heard the razor humming in key with the florescent lights- buzzing scale steps. I feel naked. I feel my friends' smiling hands slide over my head. I think I am able to feel that way here.

I keep looking at myself in the mirror in front of me. Patrick [my roommate] has purple sleep cover glasses over his eyes, and listens to his synthetic ocean waves washing over electric shores- a little white box which helps him sleep. Luke holds himself as he lays on his side; he is sleeping, too- his headphones still embedded in his ears long after the laser stopped reading numbers. The light is on. I am at a desk. "Superwoman (Where Were You When I Needed You?)" is what I hear. It fades into a muffled sea of white noise, then into "Highways of My Life": a song which made me cry on the bullet train as I sipped Kirin Ichiban.

Tokyo. That was already a week ago. A week? Years pass every day. Maybe I am changing that much. I would've never shaved my head at home. I know that is such a superficial change- it's surface. But, the surface represents the core, and maybe time is passing in years each day, forming my clay mind. I'm so malleable. [Omitted] I haven't stopped smiling. I wonder... Is this ship representative of the real world? Am I becoming more open to people as they are and simply liking more people because I am changing, or is this just a God send- all of these fabulous people on one ship? I can sound so cheesy as I say all of this, but fuck it. It has been that gorgeous.

Maybe I am all too lucky. Shit, I have prayed that everyone can just be as happy as I am if only for a day. I want to share this. I want to share these experiences with at least one person. Like, that movie "Strange Days": I want someone to put on that headset and seefeeltastesmellhear what I have.

*

I can't understand them, sitting around a table and watching as liquid explosions on Jeep tops dissipate in the sticky air. They offer me delicious green tea and some tobacco from a large, wooden pipe. The wood is like their teeth- darker than their skin. Eyes shoot around and ricochet off of us- maybe they've never seen someone like me. I have seen them, but never physically. They have gained dimensions previously hidden by the flat, glossy page they were stuck on. Children fly by with blue transparent capes shielding them from the rain.

*The rain*

I sit on a rickshaw, peering through only a sliver, seeing headlights zoom past, moving quicker than me. Rodrigo is on my side in another rickshaw, and Jean and Hamilton are either in front of- or behind- me. We are all wearing our ponchos, tasting tiger beer, bad cigarettes, and remnants of pigeon, snail, cabbage and rice. It is raining hard. We walk to the ship, seeing hundreds of friends celebrating outside a lit duty-free shop. Hugs and kisses. I see more beautiful girls every day on this trip. And here's that punk girl I like, acting a little more friendly than usual. The rain is now falling very hard, like aqua rocks. It feels gorgeous. We are sharing a cigarette and a beer. I bring the cigarette to her mouth, my fingers touch her lips. People begin leaving. I am handed half-empty and warm beers from people around me and I finish them with her help.

We decide to go in.

We walk, and I lift her onto my back. She rides me up the bridge and inside the ship, down my hall. I wanna hug goodbye. We do. I don't know who initiated what came next... I have her against the wall. We are soaking wet, kissing intensely with our eyes closed as people pass by. I don't once open my eyes to look. We hear a noise and look to the left: a person behind a camera flash vanishes. The only thing left to do after 20 minutes is laugh.

*

MTV Indonesia. Fuck MTV. Those silly, trendy (and, unfortunately, trend-setting) just-out-of-college prep shits behind- and in front of- cameras, playing with images and the minds of the world. I can turn off the television, but I can't turn off the motorcycles and their symphony of ominous horns warning everyone they are coming in swarms... You can swerve out of the way. This room smells of wood. There's an interesting ribbed and shiny yellow/brown/white flower print blanket cover or whatever the fuck you call those things you throw off of beds at hotels. Their sole purpose is to make beds look more appealing- you don't actually use them. I mean, sure, have a pretty blanket or sheet, but make it functional. It's like buying towels for decoration. "No! Don't use those towels! Those just hang there. Use those towels!"

Man, what the fuck are these videos that they are playing? They just played Crystal Waters. Yeah, the truth is, I can't possibly take in all of this, and I am dodging the subject. I walked around this village myself, people invited me in for tea and tried to sell me cloths, shirts, and bracelets. All the same shit, pretty much. I have never seen teeth like the ones these women had today: straight-up black as tar, bleeding on their lips like candy-red sugary drops where their teeth met their lips in a smile. I slept in a bamboo longhouse suspended off the ground, above the sounds of pigs, roosters, wind and rain. Fresh rice, meat, and chili peppers brought to me on a table for four. Dancing and drumming, bamboo clicks. Flute tunes swirling in the heat, Skin-So-Soft and disinfectant, sugar cane spit on dirt roads traversed by water buffalo, motorcycles, and barefoot women carrying foliage. Slicing away fat from a carcass' head and my camera clicked. Hair growing from Son's face, that mole. The kitten clawing at my shoelace; little boy with headphones.

"Can you buy, please?"

Hills of rice fields, smoke-encircled mountains. Toothpaste and a toothbrush would help! The old woman sitting motionless in the back room. What does she do back there? Oh well. I will never see their faces again; I will never forget them, though.

*

I swirl my hands in the ocean water and neon green lights flash, blinking lightning bugs that wash up on the soft sands in sea foam sheets. The salt burns my eyes; so does the alcohol. I am naked under the starry sky, half-wishing it would rain, drifting in waves both physical and mental. Falling asleep on the shore, my name being called in what seemed to be another dimension, becoming part of a dream along with laughter and the crashes and sizzles of the wavebreak. Flanged Stereolab in my ears and my skin is turning red, stinging comfortably. It feels warm. There are still muslim children swimming fully-clothed and trying to battle the ocean. I lost; I was sent in a thick salt tunnel to grind against the floor of sand. The sand was like grape nuts- I hate that shit. That's what the Liebermans used to eat. It's a cereal for pretentious people. It tastes like shit. And it was all in my pubic hair, huge piles of sand, each grain enormous as a grape nut.

"All the small boats/On the water/Going nowhere"

Getting sucked under over and over again, being spat out. Like my thoughts sucking me into reminiscences through sound, or even through bass lines buzzing in water as I see coral through goggles squeezing my face too tightly. I thought of this past winter today. I thought of Venezuela. Maybe it was the heat. I thought of the sensory deprivation tanks. I thought of Metalheadz and how cold it was outside. I thought of driving south on LSD, getting off at North & LaSalle, driving west on North, taking a right, and seeing Jackie standing there smiling and waiting for me. She came into the car, and we kissed. She bought me Newports.

It is remarkable how different a time it is now. It's just the strip of blinding setting sunlight bleaching the water in front of me. It's not just Steven sitting next to me and writing; Carly to my right- relaxing behind Gucci sunglasses; the woman walking with her head covered by a custard-colored blanket; the barbed-wire running along the wooden railing that man leans against, separating me from the high tide swells of iridescent green. It's not just the trees or the flowers, the leaves floating, the rocks aligning the sea walls and protecting the forest, the motorbikes on diesel fuel, pink minivans, the balcony, medicine-y Sprite, vodka/wine/Carlsberg stumbles naked into a night, my shaved head- no- a bird just shat on my chest. Just a little white/brown drop. Everything has changed. Everything has.

I had a dream I saw Ben. He was with other people but I knew none of them. Each had sliced their face in symmmetrical designs (6 slices down each eyebrow, for instance). One girl had sliced the middle of her nose and pulled the skin down like women stretch their ears or lips with plates. They all had black stitches in their self-inflicted wounds. It was a nightmare. But, it wasn't just because they looked so grotesque. It was the fact I realized- although unconsciously- that everyone is going to be much different. Culture shock in America. Culture shock at my fucking house! Culture shock at a cafe or a bar or a club I have been to millions of times.
I just thought of the Beastie Boys show this past summer. Eating outside in downtown Evanston with James and my sister; then the concert itself, seeing my sister pass me a joint. She's growing up. Driving through bumblefuck with James to get to the Metro. Meeting Summer. How distant is all that now? How distant are almost- no- all of my memories of home? But, change is inevitable, huh? I thought images of NY were crazy when I got back to Chicago.

Time is bizarre. Pictures are invaluable. I am taking a lot- both on film and in my head.

*

Exploding dust bricks sent cascading in volcanic air, I stare at naked children bathing in flies and not even fanning away the water. My head hurts from the smiles- no, it couldn't be. It's mountains of trash, red ash smeared on foreheads while mine just drips with sweat that burns my eyes. A woman carrying her daughter follows me through shaded corridors next to the bustling streets, pulling my arm and asking for money or food, repeating some words I can't understand while onlookers smile and ask if I need to use the telephone. Who would I call and tell that I have no money and to have this woman and child find someone else? A sea of dark brown faces in powder blue uniforms washes past and through me, and I am drowning in laughter and hellos. And eyes.

And I'm thirsty. They take me to a small place on the side of the street. We dodge bicycles, animals, beggars, dust swarms- like insects- just to get a Pepsi. Musical horns tell me to move but I am practically motionless in this heat. I find another street. Women washing clothes in the shade of colorful trucks, entire families in a shack, holding each other and eating rice with their hands. A barefoot man led me to a post office through green, glowing tunnels in which women strung flower petals or slept on the tile bed among foot traffic heading in all directions without green, yellow, or red lights. My heart beats a little faster. I think of her holding my hand and staring into my eyes smiling, or leaning against me as I hold her- and Steven draws her. A light in the sky turns from red to blue to white, flickering in passing clouds. Maybe. Then, it is now again, and I am in the middle of the street, standing on a broken stone divider with crumbling dirt for its center. Buses and open-air taxis and motorbikes. I can't move. Vehicles and people traveling like dust. I am stuck in the cement not knowing which way to go; I wish she was still holding my hand.

And now, it's someone else. She is next to me, leaning against my arm as I feel the glass behind my back. The sun is setting. I can see vehicles coming at us, and the horn is painfully loud. Her laughter and smile are soft. It is comfortable, then orange sun radiates from behind the mountain tops as it descends into a headlight horizon. Our fingers touch, then squeeze the other's hard. A pane of glass separates us from the rest of the group, and we are alone burning incense; marijuana puffs out of the Indian's mouth into swirling scenery, and traces the sliver of the moon. Conversations drift through my mind, that sunrise on the train with her face in front of the window- I could see the colors of her eyes against it.

"Moving down the highways of my life
Making sure I stay to the right
Moving down the highways of my life
So I can't be concerned
With the other side of the road"

*

I thought of home the other day. I kept feeling differently about it. Recently, in the past few days, I have not wanted to go and wanted to go. I have been afraid of how my life will inevitably be changed by all of this, but I think I also might be fooling myself. It doesn't mean my feelings of people at home have changed; I guess it means they could. But, they always can, and I don't know why I would be so stupid to think that this trip would somehow make that more possible. Whatever. Maybe in an unconscious sort of way I am missing friends and getting excited to show them all the things I've recorded in my head and on film. I am excited to see how these insights are going to play out in real life. This- as much as I'd like to think it could be- is not real. Being on a boat and traveling around the world- not knowing what time it is, or what day it is, or what anyone else is doing- is not real. It is fabulous, though. I can sit here now. I am used to the astroturf, the turquoise and white striped lawn chairs with coppery tubes, white pipes, green paint, this sunset, these faces I see all the time... The other night, Caroling, Darius, Steven, Kira, and I looked at pictures of everyone. We laughed hard at a lot of them. People looked so different, but some looked the same. We made of so many kids, and of ourselves. It is a community here- you don't have to know everyone, or like everyone, but you are linked.

Flashback.

I am crying, my arm around Yoko, looking down at everyone standing on the pool deck, hearing people sing. Loretta Andrews- one of the librarians- was hit by a bus in India, and passed away. This was the service. All those pictures on that wall in between the Union and the Harbor Grill that we were laughing at the other night, I saw each of those faces look so solemnly that day. It could've been anyone standing there that day as the water in the pool crashed harder against its walls than the ocean did outside of our world of the SS Explorer.

Everything has been so accessible lately. Memories of everything from this summer to a summer twenty years ago, to a summer or winter or autumn or fall that will happen in a year or fifty years down the line. I have felt very psychic on this boat. I felt I have seen things, or felt emotions I am going to feel as if I am a sponge to potential scenarios and events I conjure in this bubble of psychic energy. My mother says she's hooking me up with a Russian girl when I get home. I saw us having dinner inside of a dimly-lit restaurant on a dark, snowy night. I see my wonderful, beautiful, amazing family waiting for me in Chicago as I get off the plane, and how they'll flip when they'll see my hair (which, by the way, I just shaved again). I see Dara... I see John, Sandy, Kristen, Billy, James, Jordan, Jason, Shon, Keith & Jacob, Jackie- just all these kids. I see New York in January and lots of new friends I have made and have yet to meet. And everything is great. Everything has been great and will be great; I feel it.

I have had so much love in me since I have been born. I have mad love for kids on this boat even though- in my moods- I can tell myself otherwise. I know when I lie to myself, though- that is important. I am so excited for Israel. I decided I am going to travel alone. It'll be my solo mission of this trip. I hope to God everyone will be safe. I don't want to get back to the ship and have there be another service! Shit.

The sun is going down. This page has gone from a bright white to an ultra-pale blue. The lights are illuminated on those huge black chimneys, and the sky is pink orange lavender blue. I am going inside.

*

My finger is injured, so it stings with each letter. Not much other than the beige rocks on which I sit and the wind breezing past is separating me from sand valleys in the distance beneath me, turning orange-yellow from the sunrise. It wasn't too long ago that I saw neon Hebrew melting in the dark sky parchment, and two Israeli girls on acid eating donuts and babbling in a haze of laughter. The orthodox Jew who tried to drive our van away and the frozen faces of the passengers, inside their brains were images of explosions and dark-complexions turning into starry night and headlights. The blood which once ran down my finger and throbbing has turned into a slice and translucent flap of skin. It'll burn in the salt of the sea. I won't.
I imagine sliding down the tram cables high above the rocks; they appear to be grains of sand on a microscopic beach amplified into sharp boulders with human-sized insects climbing between them with red, stick limbs. I'm just looking down.

There's a rainbow fountain with bright water spouting like drinking fountains in Indian Boundary Park, then cascading like the falls in En Gedi. People seem sparse on the patterns of white benches in the square, but the space is occupied by a freestyle biker- spinning wheels, slowly and quickly, balancing on one tire as he moves backwards over the stone-studded pavement. Tel Aviv. I was told there were gas masks covering everyone's faces, and instead it's just skin. I heard the ship is leaving for Greece. I won't call. It's not my responsibility, nor is it my obligation or desire to find out the happenings of S.A.S.; as much as I love it, I am alone now and that's how I want it. The freestyle biker's bike oscillates underneath him as he holds on the bars with both hands, but I look at the beautiful Israeli women passing me by. Some stare, others don't acknowledge me. I honestly think I go unnoticed as an American. I am blending in... How appropriate.

Why I went to the peep show I can't be for certain. I think it might be habit. "Be prepared to be surprised," she said. A gorgeous girl named Laora (I think- I can't quite remember her name) who surprised me. I thought she was 18 or 19. She's Shana's age. I am not a good judge at all, apparently. Bizarre, bizarre. I am prepared to be surprised. I am supposed to meet Ayala shortly in front of "House." This is going to be very interesting, indeed. My only description of her- as she told me over the pay phone eating up my phone card on ___ street was that she was wearing overalls. Fuck, I keep forgetting names. Names shmames- it's all the same. People are their experiences, their emotions, their intake and output, and their bodies. You can see everything in their eyes; I will see hers soon. What this means I don't know. I am not supposed to... Hindsight 20/20.

*

I almost lost you.

We had dinner. 15 dollars a person for food, unlimited drinks, music, belly dancing; 50 kids or so were there. Bedii and Omer threw the dinner. It was our first night in Istanbul, and we had just been rained on and frozen. We saw the whirling dervishes, and obnoxious S.A.S students were flashing pictures even after they were specifically told not to. It was pouring outside, and we were walking around, going in and out of club after club. Steven and I broke off and took a cab cause the driver said he'd take us to a disco. He didn't know where he was going. We jumped out of the cab as soon as he pulled up- Steven ran one way, I ran the other. I realized I ran the wrong way.

I found them.

We were back together, and we went to Mojo Bar. Kristen was acting friendly- real friendly- to me all of a sudden. There was some weird Canadian motherfucker named Lyle who had been following them around all day. He was trying to hit on Kristen. I sat with her at the bar, and he smashed his glass against the table, spilling beer on my pants and backpack; I swear it was on purpose. he was watching our bags while we danced for five minutes, and I went to pee. "He's gone, and our shit is nowhere to be found!" Kristen busted into the men's room and told me this. I didn't believe it- I couldn't believe it: my passport, ID card, wallet, and you were in there. If I lost all that... I would've been ultra-fucked. We looked everywhere. I was fuming mad, but also bewildered: why had God done this to me?

Jen paid for our cab home and tried to calm us down. There was nothing we could do. And I sucked in the smoke and thought of staying up the entire night looking for you and the rest of my shit. I would've missed the trip. I would've had to buy a camera. I would've lost everything in here- the last year of my life. We sat at the gangway, trying to fill out a report: our names, room numbers, what we lost...

"Are these yours?"

Jen came down, holding our belongings in her hands. I jumped up and down and screamed. What a fucking relief! I will never understand why whoever took our shit (probably Lyle) had done so without telling us and just put it on the smoking deck of all places. If only they knew what we went through. It was a test... Too many things have been going too well. Maybe this was a gratitude check. How lucky we are to be doing all of this.

God, I am falling asleep. I need to right later.

*

My nose is running. It's such an annoying thing to be happening. All this fluid. It's better than being clogged up, though. Erika came in my room last night, and we lay together in bed and fucked around a bit. I don't understand our relationship, but I don't really care. It has just been interesting.

There are only 19 days left.

It is very rocky out there. The ship is really moving. I think Morocco to Florida is going to be super rocky. That is going to suck. Being sea-sick is an awful experience. I think that by now- after almost 80 days- the novelty of certain people is starting to wear off, and everyone is realizing who their friends are, who they want to be friends with, who they don't care to be friends with, who they'll bother to acknowledge, who they'll hug just because they need to or because they want to need to. People don't pretend as much now. It's not this bullshit like, "Oh, well we're all on the boat together so we should all be friends." That's unrealistic, but, it's been very unrealistic... But, it's been wonderful. I am going to miss a lot of people.

There are only 19 days left.

God, that is so weird. It was so quick. At the same time, we did so much, and it seems like it's been forever. Forever isn't long enough. I want this to keep going, cause now that it's real, it can only get better. Well, I guess the trip continues after we get off the boat. I traveled with Patrick, and I feel we know each other well. There are a lot of people I have love for on the boat. I know I will see who I am meant to see. I will keep in touch with whom I am meant to keep in touch, and I feel some of them will be completely random. When I think of this "keeping in touch" business, I can't help but think of Colorado Institute of Art. But that was drug shit- that was high hippies who were young and naive and probably hadn't experienced something like that before. What did we know? You say you "love" someone after knowing them for 5 days and you think you'll always be in touch? Sorry, it doesn't work like that.

But, how have we changed? Is this all an illusion? I know there are people I love. Is love an illusion? Is it strengthened by circumstances? Yes, but that doesn't make it an illusion. Can it change or disappear? Yes, but that doesn't mean it wasn't love. If you think all loves last forever- then see one die- that confuses you about how important it all was to you. It's just displaced. You don't remember how wide your smile was, you don't remember the tingles, you just see it as a past event... And you see you've lost communication with whom it all happened, and if that event didn't bring you together forever then it must not have been too important, right? WRONG! Understanding transience is the key to understanding life.

Now, that doesn't mean everything is so visibly transient. It doesn't mean some loves don't last the forever we are conscious for. It just means that relativity is at play, and that we should sometimes look at a moment as an eternity. Things don't really end as much as they change- to a point where they no longer appear to affect you. That means nothing is really over until it stops affecting you.

Then, you can look at it in one of two ways. Well, one of them is sort of obvious. Everything you experience affects your journey from point A to point B; thus the voyage from point B to point C is contingent on what happened from point A, and so on and so forth, which means something we did 20 years ago still affects us cause it brought us to where we are. That's one way to look at it. Or, you can ignore that aspect of life and just say things only affect you if you consciously acknowledge them rather than view them in this chaos theory/spiritually fatalistic light. Yeah, I know that things- in a literal sense- come to an end. I will walk off this ship December 19th as a 21 year-old man with all of this baggage and go to the airport and hop on a plane back home, and Semester at Sea as I know it will be done. I will get these pictures developed, and look at them and say "that is in the past; therefore, it is done." But, it's really not.

What I have learned- who I have met, all these experiences I've had- that will never stop. Memory is an incredible thing. Like, right now I am listening to Cypress Hill's Black Sunday. I haven't heard this shit since junior year of high school, and it's bringing back the time: driving around in Mike’s van or Joe's Camry and getting high. Jenny. Sara. Teddy Ben Jeremy Hannah Winter Laced Weed Taco Bell Bong Hits At Lunch. Grayslake. Kafein. PCP. And I can be pulling tubes at that house in Grayslake with those kids, or at Tonas’ apartment, or at Liz's house for that party where I met Hannah, or driving around instead of going to Cotillion. Who was there? Hannah, Sara, Seth, Maya? I don't even remember. But then, I feel the rocking of the boat and look at the clock [5p:34] and realize that in 25 minutes, I'll be going down to the theater to play music with Steven and Drew. Present: on my bunk bed on a rocky boat, writing, listening to Cypress Hill. Time is very strange.

Going over course schedules and stuff with my parents makes me realize just how soon I'll be off of this boat. Home comes in random spurts in my head. I'll be walking down the street in Rome, and suddenly Jackie will come to mind; or I'll be walking from the Tahoe- in the parking lot with Billy- across the street to go to Ambiance; I'll be chilling with Jason and them, and James, or John, or Sandy and Kristen, and Ryan, or Dara, or Lucia and those crazy kids at WNUR. And it's just so random. It just comes. And then it's gone. And I'll be in Madrid soon, and I'll be sitting somewhere and Rodrigo or Patrick or Steven(s) or Courtney or Lolo or anyone on this boat will pop into my head. I'll remember the Union, drinking shitty white zinfandel, hearing shitty music. Shit, memories of this boat are going to be enough to last forever. I can't even think about all these experiences in these different countries. Lifetimes. I live a lifetime in a day sometimes.

*

So, I am sitting in this ornately decorated restaurant with body burn from bizarre wine, listening to a musician playing a random instrument, singing and plucking quickly. I am exhausted but feel like staying up. This is the last night- well, the last full night in a country- in our last port: Morocco. It is December 10th. I haven't dated any of these entries. Days have melted boundaries and have flowed without time passing. Or maybe so much time has passed that it isn't comprehensible through normal, quantitative reasoning. It's not days. It's not minutes or hours or seconds. The depth of a single moment transcends most distances felt in normal life- in the past. No, it's similar to certain events. It's similar to tripping. Similar to the Seneca reservation. Similar to every intense experience I have had. It's just that it keeps happening, and all these experiences are on top of each other or next to each other in one drawn-out period of time- heartfelt emotion, realization and change- which encompasses many lifetimes. And I won't be able to understand it; you can't understand something fully when you are still within it. Understanding happens in reverse. Watching rain dry.

You think you understand rain as it falls. You feel it on your skin, you hear it, you see it form puddles which careen down the streets or flood lush grass into which you sink bare feet. Then it stops. The puddles evaporate. Darkened sections of concrete turn light again as the drops dry. You feel the dryness you were used to, but understand it even better through the rain. It is a constant process. It rains, it dries. Metaphorically, life's storms- which don't have to be negative- are understood after the rain dries...

I stood out in the desert. The moon was the brightest it has ever been. It was like a twilight midnight. I stood out there, high for the first time since I left for the trip. Hold on- oh, it was since over a week before I came. Being high... It makes your mind move so fast. It makes rain dry faster. I stood there and thought of all these people. All these friends I've made, experiences I've had. Talked to camels and told them they could go anywhere they wanted. And when I spoke, they actually stopped chewing and swallowing and looked up in my eyes and listened. They had large eyes, huge snouts. They were bizarre looking. And two days later in the mountains at a waterfall with Steven and Rodrigo, smoking that hash, hiking over crazy rocks in 90 degree valleys with walls extending infinitely downwards into imaginary floors. I saw water cascading through these formations, these enormous fucking mountains. It was so real it seemed fake. You rarely see such amazing shit and feel such amazing shit at once and over and over again. What is this reality I am/was/will be in? It will inevitably change, yes, but it will progress and parts of it will remain the same.

You walk on a plane, ascend a stairwell of time, and there is an illusion that you are reaching a higher plane when, in fact, the floor you left is raising up to the top of the stairs. Maybe it appears to be different- and it is- but only through your eyes as they perceive it with time in mind. You remember time passing. You learned, so you never look at things the same. The same.

I have done this so many times: left, came back, learned. I'll sit on the floor in my room in my house with my family, and i'll look at these people and places and just be like, "aww shit." Aww sheeut. It's December 10th. Really, there are 9 days left. 9 days until 100 go by. I will be 21 when I step off of this boat. I will be- for the government- a man. I was a man at 13 for the jews. Now, I am a man. I'll have a blue driver's license. I'll have passed this era of my life by. I'll have all these bags packed. This black trunk, Puma bag, Lowe Alpine bag, Laptop bag... If I can't fit everything, I'll use that black bag I've used in these countries- the one which folds up into a small square. And I'll say "see you soon" to some people, and "goodbye" to others. And I'll get on that shuttle to the airport, maybe have a couple drinks, think of all this shit and those kids while I sit in the airport, get on the plane and see stars zoom by, then the plane will land. I'll get off, walk in the stale air corridor with carpeted walls and floors. My heart will pound. My mom and dad will be there. It'll be over.