Just when you thought it was all sadness and regret, someone speaks up and changes your mood.
I was shedding yet another tear as Managua came into view from the airplane, the capitol city's lights and baseball stadiums the only thing we could see. In the hours before, we said long goodbyes to countless beloved people -- among them the only schoolmates and close friends my daughter has ever known, not to mention my own beloved tribe. This, for me, meant tears upon tears, all day long as we flew across our country and then over the Caribbean Sea. Sniff.
But in the seat next to me, the little blonde pixie who sheds pixie dust wherever she goes whispered, "Thanks for doing this."
This, gratitude and awe from a 10 year old who's barely traveled outside her country.
This, a reminder that i am not crazy and that this is a good thing.
This, something that will sustain me when the heat gets too hot, the smell of garbage fires gets too intense, the thought of speaking anything but my muttersprache gets too hard. She was amazed and excited, and i should be too.
Shortly after, we landed in the night, when the unsavory smells of the developing world are the main sense to assault you. Burnt trash, charcoal cookfires, chile roasting in the night so no one has to endure it during the day. No sweet banana trees to remind you that you'll be eating sweet fruits in short order. No smiling baby faces, no colorfully-painted colonial buildings to enchant you. You might sleep a bit, but the roosters, who you have yet to see, will wake you early, early. The sound of countless horse's hooves clopping along, carrying people to work, will puzzle you, but you will cling to the breeze of your fan and just TRY to sleep, sleep.
And then you will wake to a swimming pool in your yard and the glint of a giant lake shimmering out your window, and the horses' hoof sounds will become full-blown beautiful mares, decked out with big ribbons and toting carriages full of people, as if cars deigned not to exist on this lonely street, just steps from Lago Nicaragua.
And then you, filled with doubts in the dark, will change your tune in the light, and under your breath you will mutter
"Thank you for doing this."