The last week has been a bit of a blur. Culture trip with work; incredible people, food, wine, cheese, life-rush home. Hardest moments of my life. Wisk home- stop for Euro Cup Final. Beautiful stars from the car window. Home at 12:30. Cold Shower. Up and at it again.
Pack. Instant coffee.
Wake up way too quickly at 5 AM. Bus station double espresso totally hits the spot. Bus to Srebencia. Is this really the place? How can life just continue here when such tragedy stained the streets? Children were murdered here. These streets crammed with panicked families as they attempted to flee from invaders. Meanwhile you can buy Kinder Bars and there’s a place to have your laundry done just around the corner-business as usual. Chicken on a plate with some french fries for lunch. Gulp down with Sensation.
T-boned by feelings at the memorial site, Potocari, in Srebencia. There’s a hole in my stomach, and it’s slowly filling with liquid tar immobilizing all contents inside from doing what’s normal. I feel a need to vomit. Or cry. Or run away.
Taxi back to hostel in isolated, abandoned and suddenly evil town. The only signs of life are a stray dog and some pretty flowers outside a bar. For the first time in quite some time my first thoughts have been ‘I don’t want to be alone.’ Please someone sit with me.
Beer. Serbian beer- again something doesn’t feel good at all about this. The only thing keeping me above water is the company.
Now the reality is that I am not so much concerned about distance on this peace march, but on the depths of the emotions I have to encounter. All my so called preparedness is wildly the opposite.
I guess I’m out of words to describe my feelings. I spent a majority of the 58 mile march thinking to myself about a variety of things. From absolute tragedy, to wondering about money, to school, to love life, to conversations with strangers, newfound friendships, the value of family, and the absolute delight of indoor plumbing. What I found is that a majority of these thoughts were a convenient distraction to what happened when we finally reached the memorial. In essence, a breakdown. My heart ached with hurt
I am beyond thankful for my friend Laura, who shared every step with me. We talked about many things on this trip, and if it weren’t for her I probably would’ve lost it. She is a remarkable listener, and I think as two people who are generally on the listening end of conversations, we found solace in each others intentional conversation. Here’s to misery loves company, and all the singing.
Maybe that’s an agenda of the March- to stimulate a realization of what’s been around you this whole time. To make the most of it, and to remember that life is pretty fucking special. To not dwell on pettiness, and to embrace the goodness in the world despite the potential for evil.
When the March ended, I was numb pretty much everywhere. Body and mind. I wanted nothing more than to shower and hug my family. 58 miles. 3 days. heat exhaustion and emotionally void.
Although I haven’t had the time to post process much, the Peace March is forever on my mind. I think it might be one of those experiences that resonates with me whenever I encounter something difficult, uncomfortable, or anytime I see a porter potty.