“Mal De Debarquement”

I know I’m not the only one who’s felt it: that sense that you’re still jolting, falling, vibrating or swaying even while you know you’ve stopped.

I’m having flashbacks to Velcro light-up shoes and sleepy car rides home. Orange streetlights flick by my window in rapid succession, reminding me of the giddy, whirling displays we just left. The glass is cool against my forehead. 

My sister spills her cheerios between the seats as her head nods drowsily.  

She looks sunburned.

I close my eyes too and at that moment the motion of the car tricks my senses—suddenly I am back in the red molded seat, hurtling down the polished track toward a sharp downward turn into nowhere.

 My stomach hovers, suspended—then down! The vibrations of our Toyota become a roaring clatter, and my insides lift themselves delightfully at every small pothole.

There is actually a fancy medical name for this condition: ‘mal de debarquement’. In other words, ‘illness of disembarkation’, or feeling unwell when you get off a boat. For us non-sailors, insert the word “rollercoaster”.

And that, Ladies and Gentlemen, is the best description I have of today. 

This morning, at 9:36 am, I disembarked from that crazy ride known as American Education. I conjugated my last pluperfect subjunctive, turned in my test with a grin, and walked out of there lighter than air. 

But when I close my eyes, I trick myself into thinking there is another paper, another test, another class next semester. I think it’s going to take a while to get used to this new pace of life, especially since I’m not exactly settling into a routine. 

Graduation is Friday. Mission trip to Italy on Sunday. Driving to Colorado two weeks later, only to fly back home for job-hunting adventures and friend’s weddings. This new ride sounds awesome to me!

But I’m not so sure I’ve left Academia behind for good…maybe I’ll go back for another ride someday. 🙂

2 thoughts

  1. I love all of the adjectives in this. 🙂

    Congrats on finishing!

    I left one ride and hopped on another very similar one. I think I might feel more like you describe once I finish grad school. I knew finishing my "final final" of undergrad that I'd be back to academia in the fall – although I wasn't sure on what campus in what city. I do remember never fully convincing myself I was leaving College Station. Maybe that was because I knew, somehow, I'd probably be staying…except at that point (the moment I turned in my last final) I wanted to go to Tulane… *shrugs* 🙂 Either way…I'm still here and I basically never left (other than a post-graduation adventure in the Rocky Mountains! Wish I could go back – other than the brief visit I'm planning :))

    I'll be praying for y'all in Italy AND Colorado! Have a safe and happy trip (to both places!) Go on some hikes for me! 🙂

  2. Yay! Congratulations, Cherise! All your hard work and studying paid off, and you are off on new adventures already! Love you lots!! So proud of you, sister! <3

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *