Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Moving Back in Time

When I first came to Samoa in 2009, I had bought a watch for about $30.00. I had never worn a watch before then, but thought I should have one for the two year experience overseas. It served me well and I wore it nearly every day. During those moments of homesickness it was a reminder of what time it was back home, and also a constant recognition of how slow time could pass by when you are really in the dumps.

But life got better and the time on that watch seemed to pass by faster. It marked the beginning of each day and brought an end to them as well. In some odd and peculiar way, I formed some type of attachment to it as though it were a friend.

My last night in the village before I left Samoa last year, someone stole the watch. There were a handful of people it could have been, although I had a pretty good idea of who it was early on. When I lost that watch it was as if I had lost a part of the previous two years. It wasn’t the best way to end my last night in the village, but I tried not to let one person’s greed get me down.

When I was preparing to return to Samoa this past April, I knew the importance of having a watch. However, I didn’t want just any watch, I wanted the exact same kind I had come to know so well so I searched several stores until I found it! I bought it and brought it over, determined not to have it stolen or lost.

Well returning to Samoa this year brought with it many unique opportunities to reconnect with a life I had thought I had left for good. A couple months after being back, I was in my old village visiting and found my old watch which had been stolen. It was like a reunion of sorts, and I have to admit I was glad to see that the battery had gone dead and not remained loyal to its new “owner.” I took the watch home and tucked it inside my suitcase with the plans to add it to my memory box back in Michigan.

Unfortunately, this week I put my new watch in my pocket and I lost it through the sizeable hole in the pocket. I’ve trained myself not to put coins in there anymore, but forgot that the watch could slip through the opening. The watch was gone and I was feeling as though I had done it again, this time it was my own fault. That’s when I got an idea!

I dug through my suitcase and came across the original watch that had been stolen and had gone dead. I remembered that I had brought along the back-up batteries which I had bought for the watch back in 2009. With a small screwdriver used for maintenance on my glasses, I opened the back of the watch and started it up again. It felt like I had brought a part of my past back to life. That watch which had stood through so many tough days my first two years here was again keeping time, and counting down my final two weeks in this country.

I think it’s ironic that I’m ending my journey in Samoa with the same watch which I had begun it with. I’ve bridged the years together and will close them with the watch that started the race in the beginning. It will bring an end to my years in Samoa but remind me of the way it began.

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