You know the feeling when you’re camping and the ground beneath your tent isn’t quite flat? And you feel like you and your sleeping bag are slowing sliding down the slope, and by the time you wake up, everyone has inevitably formed a pile at the bottom? Or when you’re playing put-put and the hole is at the top of a slope and no matter how hard you hit it, it’s always much steeper than you anticipate and the ball rolls right back to your feet?
I have come to the conclusion that living on Réunion is something like these sensations.
Last Friday, my housemate drove me up to Saint Paul about a third of the way around the island going clockwise, which, on the coastal highway, is more like making an extremely long right hand turn. Anways, during the drive, the geography of the island finally hit me. With enormous mountains in the center of the island, it’s nothing but one big, long slope all the way down to the coast. And there’s this wierd disequilibrium about living on a slope that I hadn’t really picked up on. Everything is always tilted downward, downward towards the sea. It’s as if you’re constantly fighting the force of gravity to stay where you are, like you have to lean into it or hold on tighter to the railing. And like the slanted put-put hole, I feel like I’m never going to make it up the hill on my bike to teach at my highest school. But once the bell rings and it’s time to leave, I come screaming down the mountain and end up right where I started, practically without turning a pedal. Repatriating to the flattest place in the world (central IN) might be overwhelmingly destabilizing once I’m used to the slanted life.
At least I don’t feel upside down, which I totally am, being in the southern hemisphere (see paréo below Im using as a curtain in my room). That would be a lot more problematic.
Nos hivers sont vos étés = Our winters are your summers / Nos étés sont vos hivers = Our summers are your winters