Beginnings Must End

Samuel Normington - Senegal


April 7, 2014

I have at times strove for perfection in the context of writing blog posts. Today, I am replacing perfection with importance. I have wanted to give you the perfect description of everything in my life but I can’t quite put it into words, and besides that, the feelings I wish to convey are so simple sometimes I forget their importance.

I am happy, I have been happy since February 9th. I had maybe 3 days which were slightly less than perfect before the 9th. Before that slip-up I had been happy since the 14th of December. During all of this time I have seen no need to share anything because I had nothing new to report. This will serve to be the report of my happy times.

A lot has happened since I got here, I’ve climbed some mountains, ridden a camel and a horse, I’ve eaten a pigeon, and I’ve killed a turkey. I’ve learned cursive and read 41 books, I’ve learned a language (sort of), I’ve made friends, I’ve laughed and cried and grown a beard.

I remember setting off on this adventure excited for the adventure. For the climbing of mountains and swimming in waterfalls, sleeping under the stars and never wiping the smile off of my face.

What I came here for could have happened, or something close to it, but it didn’t. And during the first few months here I regretted the fact that I wasn’t on my adventure. This was because I figured I would only find happiness when my expectations were met. I admit that my few days of adventure when I did climb a mountain and swim in a waterfall were fantastic and wonderful, full of laughter and smiles, but they weren’t the only joyful days. For example, I wrote this on the 5th of November:

Today was a very good day. Filled from start to finish with various giggles, shouts, laughs, chortles, cries, smiles, and most importantly, love. A shower with conditioner, a cool morning progressing to a lovely evening. Six hours of English. Bissap (A drink made of Hibiscus.) Two letters. Dancing. Wrestling. Singing. Stars. Music. Tea. Tears. Books. Football. Chocolate. Meat. Coffee. Poop.
That is Love.

This was one day among many where I found joy, just recently my host-mom called me her eldest child and I didn’t stop smiling till sleep took hold of me. Last night I was singing ‘Hearts on Fire’ and my two year old sister asked me what I said, one word at a time, when I spoke, she repeated, “Oh” ‘Oh’ “darling” ‘darling’ “my” ‘my’ “heart’s” ‘heart’s” “on” ‘on’ “fire” ‘fire.’ It’s safe to say I went to sleep with a smile on my face again.

I have 9 days left here, and I am eager to be back with my other family, to take my sister to the park, and play music with my brother till we pass out. But at the same time I am not at all eager to have to leave. I have always known this day would come, at some points I didn’t think it would come soon enough, now that it has come… well I suppose it was inevitable. I must walk out of this world content with the fact that I have changed it, if only a little bit. And knowing that it has changed me, quite a bit more than just a little.

Departure from this place will be accompanied by smiles, tears, and promises to return. I have no regrets, and look forward to the many more unexpected adventures and challenges that await me upon my journey through life. To quote Semisonic, “Every new beginning comes from some other beginning’s end.”

Thank you.

Samuel Normington