July 30, 2007

Such Sweet Sorrow

I've heard it said on numerous occasions that "parting is such sweet sorrow" but I'm not sure I ever understood the meaning of the phrase until this weekend, when I find myself about to leave my home of the last two years, Nome, Alaska.

I continue to be convinced that moving to Mthatha is the best thing I could do right now but there's a part of me that still wishes, "Could we just move Mthatha to Nome?" I have become so integrated into this community with so many deep connections that it is like ripping part of my body out to leave. And I know that I am still in denial about leaving and won't truly realize what I've done until I get on the plane on Wednesday night.

On Friday night, the community threw what was billed as "JesseFest," a night of family fun in celebration of my contribution to the community. It was supposed to be a night of dancing and games on Front St. but the weather forced it inside so it became a grand ol' time under the roof of the Nome Rec Center.

I had an absolute blast, particular as the fun was clearly targeted towards ages 12 to 18, which is probably closer to the age I act. But it was so humbling to see the hundreds of people who came out to support me (many of whom I only tangentially knew), realize the town was willing to shut down one of its main streets for this gig, and see the hard work so many people put in to make the event a success. They even managed to raise some money for me while they were at it!

At least with "sweet sorrow," there's that measure of sweetness and I definitely tasted it everywhere Friday night.