Some days, only three kids show up for your Beginners’ English class, so you play foosball instead. Some days, you end up with dozens of hyper boys in your classroom, all jumping out of their seats to scream the English names of animals at you.
Some days, you invite the neighbor girls into your home while you make brownies and they download “Hijab Makeup Salon” onto your phone without asking. Some days, you feel a bit giddy from all the mutual gift-giving and cheek-kissing. Some days, you feel so tired from work that you ignore the ring-ring-ring-bang-bang-bang on the door until your landlady has to come chase away the neighbor girls.
Some days, you drop by your host mom’s house to drink hrira, and you don’t know whether it’s the tumeric, pepper, cayenne, cilantro on your throat or the welcoming hugs, but you feel a delicious warmth all the way to your toes. Some days, you bring your host mom some “American food” and laugh as she pretends to love it when she actually hates it and laugh even more when she takes a second helping just to encourage you.
Some days, your heart aches for cities and towns far away. You left pieces of your heart in those places. Some days, you call the people in those cities and towns who are keeping your heart pieces safe until you return. You just want to hear their voices. Some days, the calls are full of wistfulness and love and happiness. Some days, there is bad news on the other end and you feel like you would give anything to be there and not here.
Some days, you make yourself mint tea and pour it from high up even when no one else is watching because now you know—what other way is there to properly pour tea?
Some days, you go to the post office to open a mailbox, and for the 3rd or 5th or 8th or 10th time, fail completely.
Some days, you forget who you’re supposed to call about a lunch or kaskrut invite because there’s been a waterfall of them and you can’t keep track.
Some days, you walk away from an acquaintance, fistpumping the air because you still can’t believe you had an entire conversation about a complex topic and you even used past progressive tense! Some days, you want to hide away FOREVER from the embarrassment of accidentally writing “touch” on your posted class schedule instead of “contact.” (Some days, you turn bright red even just thinking about moments like these. Some days, you just shake your head and laugh at yourself.)
Some days, you happen to run into several people you know on the way to the market. Some days, you walk home from work with wonderful friends, arm in arm, laughing at each others’ bad jokes. Some days, you hear some creep on the street say something that clings against the inside of your skull like slime.
Some days, you don’t leave the house for the entire day because everything feels too heavy. Some days, you just wish you could be anonymous and alone. Some days, you just wish you were somewhere else. Some days, you realize you’ve spent your entire life semi-wishing you were somewhere else.
Some days, you splurge on Milka chocolate bars or avocados or ice cream to make yourself feel better. Some days, it works. Some days, you just need your mom’s beef noodle soup and it’s nowhere to be found. Some days, you make the uh-oh revelation that you are craving couscous and that in two years, the craving will be permanent.
Some days, you can barely understand how the world can be so vivid and sharp. Some days, you think about how spectacularly lucky you are. Some days, you think about how you now have true family in a new country. About the friendships you are building. About the students who are inspiring you. And some days, even though you know your little diasporic traveler’s heart can never be truly full—some days, it feels full for just a moment. And that’s enough.
Some days, you know this is exactly where you are supposed to be for now.