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Zambia Travel Diary – Day 6 – The Wedding

(2015.09.10 23.16 Night before the wedding. I’m slightly nervous, or maybe more worried, just hoping everything will be okay, that nothing will ruin their day and that I won’t make a fool out of myself. I’m sort of tense, waiting, anticipating, so I don’t even know what to write about that. But I just put the alarm, and glanced at the clock in different time zones. It’s different when travelling, when the earth itself has shown differences beneath my feet. It’s morning in Tokyo. 6.23. In my head I can see the sun rise, sweeping the map from one side to the other. I’m not at home, I’m in the world now, a dot on the map, so I suppose I should sleep before it gets me.

(I bought a new book today at a shopping centre, I Know Why The Caged Bird Sings by Maya Angelou which I’ve wanted to read forever. It also changes the way I write, maybe to much, when I’ve just read something in a specific style. And maybe specifically when I write in english since it’s not my mother tongue. I really should sleep.))

2015.09.11 (technically 2015.09.12) 00.18 I wanted to think something as I sat on the stage at a (sort of) traditional african wedding reception in Zambia. It would be a lie to say I came up with something eloquent. Quick words to capture the motions and lights. Colour and clothes comprised. But I knew I wanted to shape something out of the word ‘different’, this weird adjective that has captured this journey in general and is meaningless and everything. Different just means different. Everything is. It’s a comparison.

I was a bridesmaid. They picked me up at 7.30 to go do our hair. I wrote a note on my phone while there:

10.58. The wedding is in one hour. We’re in some random saloon where they seem really surprised by styling a white girls hair. But they’re good. It’s not the same ‘every corner needs to be clean’ feel as in Sweden, which is quite nice actually. I wonder if we’ll make it in time though. Not as much for my own sake as for the others.

This was back when I was still tense, when nothing had happened yet and everything was to come. A to do list of nerve-wracking (that I blame my bad writing on) that made it difficult to wait.

Everything ran smoothly. We were late to the church, obviously, and for everything else, but everyone always is and that way the time-culture here that doesn’t work still kind of does.
Then came the party. We were the intro, walking in dancing and then quick out to change for the main dance. After which we were going to improvise. Together with one of the guys you had to stand in the spotlights on the dance floor and shake your body. I just did my best and hoped it lived up to the small expectations of a white girl. It was quite fun, not gonna lie. And then the guy leading the whole thing spoke some more.

As a bridesmaid I sat on s small stage at a table next to the wedded couple. When they introduced all of us though, the guy leading it had to say that I obviously couldn’t return from Zambia without a man. He proposed. I said no. He told me he would ask me something in another language and I should say yes. I said no. Hopefully in a way that made it fun.

It was really good though. I would consider the other bridesmaids my friends now, and so many people were very kind and perfectly polite. A lot of them aimed their eyes at my face and not my words. But some looked at my face and stayed at that and maybe we all just hate being looked at. As if people don’t even try to look for a soul.

But at the end of the day, the bride and groom were beautiful. I love living outside my comfort zone (even it it makes me irritated at the people in it when I come back) and I think that I learnt. And I should write more but I’m in bed and the power’s out so I need to turn off the flashlight, because my eyes are (repeatedly) falling shut while trying to come up with something good to end this with.

(On my wedding I want flowers wrapped around my tiara and a lot of sun and blankets and friends playing me songs and reading me poems)

Zambia Travel Diary – Day 5

2015.09.07 11.36 It’s easier for me to feel alone here because I don’t understand. It’s foolish, maybe, of me to look at people and think I know them through my first judgemental presumptions. But I do. And usually they’re close to me. Most people I see, I see a lot, and I like to imagine I solve them like puzzles even though maybe I don’t. Here I can’t even pretend. I look at people and my mind doesn’t trick me into believing I know what’s inside their heads when they look at me. I know that we’re similar all over the world, humans with sparkling nerve-endings and weird theories, but cultures still manage to change us until we don’t recognise each other. Myself as much as anyone else. I wish I could be here long enough to learn how they think, and that we could look the same and erase any visible distance.

12.00 My book is so good. The Ocean at The End of The Lane by Neil Gaiman. Like daang, it might be one of the best ones I’ve ever read.

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22.16 The streets are different here. If you were to drive to the sister of the woman my uncle’s marrying, it’s a right left right left, and you pass by kids walking around in school uniforms, people selling fruits and marble columns. And I found a nice book store today, in one of the slightly fancy shopping malls. Self help book after self help book and tons about business and career, but they had some fiction too (That’s what you need, learn to see from that, learn to see from that).

(2015.09.08 00.04 I just finished my book, The Ocean at The End of The Lane by Neil Gaiman. I think it’s one of my favourites. It’s small in a way, not high and mighty, bigger on the inside. Not bound by logic in a way that’s inspiring, and magic seeping through every letter into my heart.)