“I’m wild again, beguiled again, a whimpering, simpering child again.
Bewitched, bothered, and bewildered am I.”
-Kurt Vonnegut Jr (Timequake)
Who am I? What a superb question! I am quite glad that you asked! I am everything, and I am nothing at all. I am a convoluted knot of atoms, molecules, elements, and synapses. I am a human being and a human becoming. I am a bag of flesh housing a beating heart and other vital organs. At my best moments I am better than sliced bread! At my worst, I am a pair of eyes hidden beneath a comforter. Sometimes, I am an intrepid explorer and sometimes I am merely a visitor on the Intrepid battleship in New Jersey.
Here in Ecuador I am known by many names. I am Carleen (if you’re my Quito family), Jennifer (if you prefer my middle name), and Carl (if you’re a friend). Needless to say, I am often confused. In the day time I am awake and in the night, I am asleep. Once however, in the day time I was asleep which then made it difficult to be asleep in the night time but I am flexible so it worked out alright in the end. I am pretty laid back like that.
As far as appearance goes, I am noticeably white when I go out in public but also I am red from the relentless sun. Secretly, sometimes, I am yellow with fear in new situations or blue when I miss my home. At the discotheque I am purple, red, and aquamarine. Overall though, I am green with newness and expectation.
At times, I am deeper than the ocean and enjoy contemplating the universe and life itself. At other, unrelated, times, I am puzzled by the simple action of washing dishes. I am a blank slate devoid of use in this new environment but I am learning! I am studying and reading and exploring and stumbling over unfamiliar words and sounds. I am making a fool of myself and I am laughing harder than I ever have before. I am forming connections with strangers, with new family members, and with friends. I am constantly absorbing and adapting.
I guess I am rambling a bit, but the truth is, I don’t truly know who I am. I am attempting to find myself on this journey and I am relishing every second. I am wearing alpaca sweaters and eating bizarre fruits. I am playing with orphans in convents and chasing turkeys in my backyard. I am a source of food and warmth to a kitten and a sorcerer in my imagination. I am a sister, an aunt, a friend, a confidante, and occasionally, a terrible salsa dancer. But above all else, I am happy and I am complete. And that is all I have ever aspired to be.