Sometimes music just gets you. You don’t know why or how, but the tune and lyrics make this connection with you. It doesn’t need explaining. It just feels right and that’s all that matters to you at that very moment in your life. Whether it be in the room you spent countless hours in throughout the past many years (doing anything from moping about boys to feeling a loss of direction) or in a new place away from the familiar and beloved. Music has always been there for my wondering soul, on all ends of the emotional continuum.
Avril Lavigne was my first and ever-so-loved connection. She was the only one who truly understood how I felt as I screamed profanities at my mother (sorry mom, I love you!) and slammed my bedroom door BLASTING “Complicated”, unknowingly complicating my own hearing capacity. Oh teenage hormones. I remember before Avril, my mom had two go-to albums playing in the house constantly: Amanda Marshall and Shania Twain. Well at least I remember them being constant – who knows how well my brain worked before the great Sk8er-Boi-life direction shift. Maybe I’d have my life figured out by now if Avril didn’t complicate things (ha.. ha.. so many complicated jokes). Anyways, from Avril to now The Paper Kites, things have changed – for the better. It’s nice to find a connection with artists you’ve never met, especially when you don’t feel comfortable or brave enough to reach out to others. Hence one of my idols, Lights.
The beautiful Lights has gotten me through some rough dips with her positive vibes and real feels. She feels like, and is pretty much a close friend because I stalk all her social media and am in love with her child. So, ya, we are best friends. She just hasn’t gotten the memo yet. But on a more serious note, idols. My papa. The biggest and greatest person I ever loved, who now lives in memories*. I’ve been thinking about him a lot lately; here in this foreign land he and my Nana travelled to countless times. What kept him coming back? This man who never liked to travel far and long from his chickens and grandchildren (yes I would categorize us with those god forsaken chickens). The only real answer I can muster is: the people.
A full life is really all about the people you surround yourself with, in familiar and distant places. The people you choose to help. The people you choose to love, befriend, trust, and embrace. I assume Papa loved the people of Cameroon. I mean, I could do without the random dick whip-outs (cause apparently the world is a playground when you’re a man with a full bladder on the streets of Yaounde). Mixed with a few questionable conducts, Cameronians have their perks. For example, it’s rude here to just approach someone with a demand. You can’t just go up to a colleague and say “I need seven copies of these. Thanks.” Nuh huh amigos. You greet and ask them how they are doing. How nice is that? People here care about your well being first, their needs second**. Also, don’t ask someone to go for drinks or supper without picking up the bill yourself. Your invite, your treat. And don’t be surprised if they bring their entire family to get in on the goodies too. Everyone is very communal in Cameron. I can see Papa enjoying this – the community mind set that is.
So, here I am. In Cameron still trying to make sense of everything and anything while keeping a low profile. Still trying to find my own people and getting closer each day. It’s a process and I respect that. I just wish Papa were here to explain to me why he would make exceptions for Cameron, out of everywhere. I guess I’ll just have to keep looking.
I realize this post and the last seem daunting in ways. I promise you I am doing well. I have met amazing people, I have some great friends, and I lead a pretty easy life compared to others here (which I am truly grateful for). I have recently feasted on homemade kimchi with Koreans, had many great potlucks with coworkers, experienced a delicious (and my new favourite) french bakery, and discovered the only thing that keeps my middle school phys. ed. class focused and listening (it’s yoga – YAY!). The days are long, the weeks are long, and I am still breathing with regular poops and an ok stomach (for the most part). Small victories in a never ending cycle of daily doings.
I never had any intentions for this post. Turns out I had a lot to say. I could keep jabbering but I think that’s enough for today (aka I’m hungry). I hope you can find comfort in the words of strangers as you encounter speed bumps on your journey, just as I have thus far. Jam on mes amis. Jam on.
Just in case you wanted to groove a little.
All my heart,
* and apparently dandelions, little yellow butterflies, and green orbs 🙂
**This is with great exception to the street vendors, drivers, and reasons we have guards, giant concrete walls, bars on our windows and doors, and barbed wire around our home.