taking the bad with the very, very good


I have loved every second of being back in Dakar… excepts for the seconds minutes hours days I’ve spent uploading videos to send out for review. I wish I could say the photo above was stolen from the Internet ether, but it is actually the current sad state of affairs chez Ruth.When all is said and done, it will have taken five hours (if I’m lucky) for a file that is less than 1GB to upload.

But tragic network speeds and all the other things that had at one time or another annoyed me about Dakar are rolling right off me now that I’m back from my trip. Being here feels positively glorious, and such a privilege. The sun is out, rainy season has not yet begun, I have spent no more than three hours in an office in 2016, and my French has miraculously improved rather than suffered in the absence of speaking it for a month. (More evidence for my “marination theory” of language, which posits that time away allows everything to seep into the long-term, intuitive part of the brain, even while it abandons the short-term, readily accessible part.)

As Lloyd Dobler put it, I’ve been “walking around feeling satisfied. Can you imagine that?” I keep having these manic bursts of happiness while on the street or reading a book or listening to music. Even in the middle of twelve-hour edit sessions I have found myself overcome with the shock of contentment.

While I was away on my shoot and missing Dakar much more terribly than I would have thought possible after only three months living here, a similarly “homesick” study abroad student at the language center, who had just gotten back to the States, posted this video to Facebook. It’s been stuck in my head since, and it’s now one of my go-to happy songs. I think it very nicely captures how I am feeling at the moment.