All changes, even the most longed for, have their melancholy; for what we leave behind us is a part of ourselves; we must die to one life before we can enter another. ~ Anatole France ~
1. Sadness or depression of the spirits; gloom.
2. Pensive reflection or contemplation.
a. Black bile.
b. An emotional state characterized by sullenness and outbreaks of violent anger, believed to arise from black bile.
1. Affected with or marked by depression of the spirits; sad.
2. Tending to promote sadness or gloom: a letter with some melancholy news.
3. Pensive; thoughtful.
I’ve been feeling a little melancholy lately. I’ve just figured out what the word is for how I have felt the last few days. Yes, it took me three days to figure out what it was and it was a “eureka” moment today when I figured out what it was. I knew what the source of what I was feeling was I just didn’t know what it was. Depression was too strong a word, sad didn’t quite seem strong enough, wretched well, just seemed wretched.
Reading the definition of melancholy I can see that yes, this is the word to describe my feelings. I fall under the “pensive reflection or contemplation” portion. Lest you read into this post and think that it is all about me, no, it really isn’t.
I’ve mentioned in the “Q & A” post that there is a fully furnished house for sale next door to us. The house remains on the market unsold and is for rent on a short term or long term basis. This would be the reason for my melancholy. The Vecino’s are leaving Panama and moving back to the US. Both SU and I will miss them. They were to leave at the end of the month and half of them still will. Vecina and El Perro Grande are departing on an early flight Wednesday which means a trip to the city on Tuesday. The trip was already scheduled for El Perro Grande but Vecina decided on Saturday that she would go with him and booked her departure ticket.
I’ll miss my friend. Vecina was the one who taught me which flour to use and that it needed sifting because it didn’t come pre sifted; and that was why my first batch of muffins didn’t rise as well as they should have. She told me where to find some of the things that are in the oddest places in Panameño grocery stores. When we were both knew we were looking for something that was elusive we’d grab extra for each other. We commiserated in wet season about the mold and mildew that grew on everything that wasn’t moving. We had our weekly “girls only” trip to see Gerardo for vegetales and she was the one who taught me all the words for the fruits and vegetables in español. When he’d have something different on the truck like avocado or beautiful big mangoes out of season we’ve been as giddy as school girls. We’ve scratched our heads together and put on our Panameño hats over a few things, but we’ve always agreed that it isn’t up to us to change things. And now the Vecino’s have decided to leave for reasons that are theirs.
We have other friends in and around the burg but no one close enough to yell at over the fence or to decide on the spur of the moment that happy hour will be in five minutes on the back porch. I know what I am feeling is normal and I will be fine. But as I looked at SU yesterday and said to him; “I guess I’m stuck with you for scintillating conversation in the garden” he just grinned, shrugged and said; “Sorry”. And for the next month even Dusty and El Gordo are back in Canada attending to family matters. Hopefully all is well with them.
When we first moved here we met a lot of people, so many that SU still can’t keep “who is who in the zoo” straight. We quickly learned to separate the fruit from the nuts and who we “jelled” with. We can say now that we “know” a lot of people; but are we friends? There are couples that we see occasionally in group situations, Dear Friends that are hermits and we have to force ourselves on, SU has friends whose brains he likes to pick (I call these his Bromance friends), there are people who we stay away from and people that we’d like to know better (how to do that without looking like stalkers is the question). We’re still working on being friends with our fellow townsfolk; it’s coming slowly but surely. I learned early on that I’m not going to jell with everyone I meet nor is everyone thrilled to call me friend. Because; sometimes, one can only spread the “jelly” so thin without it becoming all color and no substance.
I’m sure that my melancholy is fleeting and I will be happy that Vecina is off a new adventure. All the first world perks that comes with sitting in a bathtub, shopping malls, multiple grocery stores and clothes that actually fit. But I can’t help but think that it might be a bit of a culture shock at first returning to Norte America. Take for instance adjusting the way you drive and getting used to actually having people following the rules of the road!
As I told our maestra de español the other day; “Some of us are born in Panama, some of us come to Panama for a short time, some of us stay a long time and some of us shouldn’t have come at all.” I like to think that Vecina came for a short time to give me an opportunity to “pay it forward” and guide some other poor Gringa in the ways of Panama. Safe journey’s Vecina. And I’ll try and make sure that Vecino and Vecino Jr. don’t starve until you are all reunited.