Goodbye Dinamarca

Last night, as we looked out over the jungle horizon into the sunset, the sky a more muted orange than normal, I almost cried. An emotion brought on from knowing that we were leaving in the morning, from thinking I may never ssee this beauty again (for it certainly was the beauty and awe I felt for my surroundings that moved me so in this moment).

Although it may have also been in part some leftover sadness that I had experienced earlier as Chris and I walked around the town, saying goodbye to the few people we connected with. To Marilin, we gave a small token, a pocket sized english-spanish dictionary. She was our best student, coming to every class and although quite shy in the beginning, towards the end she was always quick to provide responses to the questions we asked. We gave her the dicionary, coming up to her as she roamed the streets with the adolescent crowd, probably embarrassing her but all the same thanking her for being such a good student and asking that she share the gift with anyone interested.

A small gift that was exceedingly reciprocated when later that night after we had already retired to our mosquetera, we were called back outside by Melvin saying one of our students was there. Completely unexpected, there she was, quite shy, with a present for both Chris and I, wrapped in plastic and tied with string. Embarrassed, she asked us to open them later. Inside of each package was jewelery (a bracelet for Chris and a necklace for me) and small Shipibo style embroidered patches, all of them made by Marilin. Truly beautiful and amazingly kind for a 15 year old girl, I think her act represents the mentality that is cultivated here in Dinamarca.

Also last night in continuing our walk, we stopped by the house of Inés, another student, although less frequent. She´s older, probably 30, but ever since meeting her on the porch of Bernardo´s uncle´s house one night, I felt a connection to her. She is kind and has a sort of fun sparkle about her, and although we never talked much, I consider he my friend, especially as she sets a bench in the shade for Chris and I, sitting down with us seemingly saddened by our departure.

All those feelings yesterday, happiness for being there, meeting all these people, most of whom treated us with kindness and welcoming acts, seeing the beauty of the amazon, a skyscape both early morning and late evening that perfectly enhances the already completely beautiful landscape, and more stars at night than I have ever seen before. And sadness, almost to tears at leaving.

And yet today, early morning waking up, packing, walking down the path (about a mile) to the beach, I feel silent. Not numb really, but not sad, not happy.

An apathy that perhaps came from the family´s energy. All of them walked with us to the port, but hardly talking, hardly really there with us. Perhaps for them goodbye´s are different, but Chris and I parted ways the best we could, thanking them, telling them how much we enjoyed our stay, that we would like to visit again, and that we hope we were good guests. No words really inreply. A handshake from Bernardo. A half hug in return from Bertha. The kids for once were pretty quiet.

Maybe it´s just another way our cultures differ, because last night, Bertha sitting on the floor with us while we packed, keeping us company and then teaching me how to make my favorite drink, gave me the impression that our stay (at least for her) meant something. As it truly did for us.

3 Responses to “Goodbye Dinamarca”
  1. i almost cried reading it-jess

  2. Chris's MOM says:

    Wow, I just re-read this and realized that I typed too fast!!! Sorry….The last line should be: How wonderful for you and Christopher that at an early age you are experiencing such unique hellos and good-byes and all that they will do to shape who you both will be!

  3. Chris's MOM says:

    As I was reminded today at a memorial service. Life is a series of hellos and goodbyes.It all about the journey. Every hello and goodbye shapes us into who we are.How wonderful for you and Christopher that at an early age are experiences such unique hellos and goodbyes and all that they we do to shape who you will be!

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