Poka means goodbye. You say it to your friends when you part ways. You say it when you’re rushing off to teach a class, jumping on your marshrutka bus, or leaving back to America after spending a full year with some great friends. Poka is a tough thing for me to say. I don’t like what it means. I don’t like that it can mean goodbye forever. The truth is that we never know what tomorrow will bring. We don’t know what’s going to happen in the future. We can’t know absolutes. Life doesn’t work that way. I’ve moved so many times in my life and said goodbye to so many people that you’d think I was immune to a teary goodbye. But no, I am the master of a teary goodbye. Take this morning, for example. My parents left to go back home to Oregon and I welled up. My mom just about made me lose it, but I like to pretend to be tougher than I really am. I didn’t cry outright and I made the goodbye better by saying, “I’ll see you soon.”
Yes, I am strangely close to my parents. Most of my Peace Corps friends are not so close to their parents. They leave on adventures and rarely go home. I always go home or at least convince my parents to join me on my travels. We’re just… close. I think this is a good thing, but it sure makes those little goodbyes pretty tough. Or maybe I’m not really sad about the goodbye but about the fact that they get to go back to luscious Western Oregon and my current town of Nampa, Idaho is so dry and flat. I swear I’m allergic to this city. I think it’s really that I don’t like goodbyes.
Until next time,