Why I left…(Parte Uno)

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I left Asia because of a single dream. An incredibly deep and vivid dream about my mother. Until I dreamt that dream I didn’t know whether I should give Asia another year and then make my decision like most expats do. One year has a tendency to merge into another and then another. “This is my last year,” most people say. By the time you finally leave if ever, you could easily find yourself severely out of the loop.

The ‘Dream’ as I like to call it, was the leading impetus for my departure from Asia. I remembered every detail down to who was present and what they were drinking. The weight it carried was enormous and I couldn’t ignore it. It genuinely felt real.
Now, of course there were other reasons that contributed to my final decision to pack my bags and book my ticket. Situations pertaining to relationships with the opposite sex,  emotional stability and not to mention monetary stability. However, as powerful as these other motivations were, the ‘Dream’ was the sole catalyst for why I left.

The alarm screams like it always does on weekday mornings. Last night I stayed up too late watching a movie and now my eyes were as big as lemons. My eyes were so swollen that I couldn’t make out the painting on the wall. “Is that a painting? When did that painting get there?” I mentally ask myself. Caught in between both stages of consciousness and unconsciousness, I reach around my pillow for my cell phone. It’s right where I left it last night. I press the button that says snooze and decide to sleep for another ten minutes.

Beep! Beep! Beep! I jump up and suck in as much oxygen as I can from the stale air around me. Like a bear waking up from a 6 month slumber, I let out a beastly moan and taste my putrid breath. “Jesus, 10 minutes went by already,” I say to myself as I yawn. In a dream state ten minutes of sleep feels like thirty seconds. In the real world ten minutes at work feels like a life sentence at a labor camp
I take another deep breath and press the ‘OK’ button. “It’s time to get up, Ade,” I tell myself.
Oneirology, or the study of dreams says that we dream about 5 times per night. That’s about 1,825 dreams per year. Freud believes that dream content is a product of wish fulfillment. Meaning that when we don’t remember certain aspects of a dream, it’s our brain’s way of blocking out wishes or longings that we’re not emotionally equipped to handle. Wow, pretty deep stuff, Freud. Freud goes on to say that lack of dream recall signals repression as a form of self-preservation. Simply put, our brains don’t want us to remember certain content because it’s too traumatic.

Within 5 minutes of waking 50% of dream recollection is forgotten. Within 10 minutes, 90% is lost. That morning I woke up, turned my alarm off and quickly called my mother.

She had to hear this.

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Why I came back home.

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“You’ll be back. I’m giving you a few months until I see you in Asia again,” my friend said to me as we shook hands and parted ways.

The one constant question that I have incessantly received isn’t the one asking whether I miss living overseas or what country would I love to return to. Nor has anyone asked me if I miss the various exotic foods or unique culture. Believe it or not, not a single soul has asked me if I miss the way my life used to be on foreign soil. Kinda strange, if you ask me. Those are the typical questions that I expect to receive.

Without fail, roughly twice a day I am asked by friends and some family alike, ‘why I chose to come back home… a.k.a America’.

Just the other day I was sitting in the back seat of my friends new car. It looked and smelled like a Dodge Durango. In my opinion certain new cars have distinct smells. During my college days as a valet I was able to develop a weird ability to recognize cars by their smell. This aroma that my nose was inhaling was undoubtedly a Dodge of some sort.

We were on our way to the ‘SRC’ to play some basketball. The SRC is the student recreational center at Arizona State University and it just underwent some seriously renovating. “How long has it been since you’ve been to Tempe,” my friend asked. “Man, at least 7 years,” I reply as I realize how fast time flies. The side streets and alley ways that I used to take to class were no longer recognizable. “Remember this place?” my friend asked. “Umm, wasn’t that place…uh, I don’t  know,” I said. “Haha, that used to be your dorm,” he said as he chuckled. “No way! All those memories I created in that place and now it’s a freaking parking garage,” I say in a somber voice. I was quickly realizing that things were different. The people whom which I associated with were now either married or married with children of their own. Places I ate at were no longer in familiar locations. I was gone for quite some time. It would have been foolish of me to expect life to pause and wait for my return.

“I’ve been meaning to ask you, why did you come back,” my friend asks. There had been a silence in the car for the last minute or so. Ostensibly, we were all admiring the plethora of new ASU facilities or perhaps we were preparing our minds to win some basketball games at the newly remodeled gym.

I took a deep breath simply because yet again I was confronted with this question. My spirit knows the reasons why I returned home, however, formulating this response into words was something that I did not know how to do. The SRC was coming up on our left and in a matter of seconds we would be out of the car and lacing up our shoes. My friend who was in the drivers seat looked up and peered into the rear view mirror. This time he wasn’t checking to see if any cars were behind him. He was curious to find out what was distracting me from answering the simple question that he had just asked. “Did you hear what I said?” he asked. “Yeah yeah, I’m just trying to figure out how to answer it,” I replied with a look of bewilderment.

Why I came back… (check back in later:)