Last night, I was walking home and I realized, I ain't Löki here.
I mean, I know this. I get this. I have "realized" this at least a half dozen times.
Still, whenever I actually think about it, it really hits me. Löki Gale Tobin from Nome doesn't exist in Azerbaijan. Lüki Qal Tobın, the Peace Corps Volunteer hangs out here.
You'd think these two people would be similar, but there really not.
In Az, Lüki doesn't hug people. Lüki doesn't rock climb. Lüki doesn't talk about politics.
In Az, Lüki doesn't wear mismatched tones of orange or drive a [fairly large for her] truck with the license plate Trekie.
In Az, Lüki lives alone and runs early in the morning (something Löki really dislikes in the States).
In Az, Lüki doesn't smile when walking down the street.
It makes sense that Lüki is this way. For many Azerbaijanis, she is the first American they have ever met. I am darn sure she is the first ethnic minority American and for those random people on the street, that first impression is often all she gets. If I act like Löki, well, I would be judged on the Azerbijani standards of behavior and found hugely lacking (and probably a little crazy).
So, my answer is to tone it all down. In public, I am 100% Lüki. In private, I am working on becoming less and less Lüki and more and more Löki, but it's still something like a 70-30% mix.
Why am I telling you all this? I bet this is sort of a "duh" for you all.
Well, it's because last night, I realized that Löki is being so darn suppressed that I am not sure she's there anymore. I mean, there are parts of me that had to change and I am not sure that they will change back when I return home.
That's scary. I hope, I mean, I know, I am changing for the better, but...what will that look like? What will the new Lüki/Löki look like?
I don't know, but it will be interesting to find out.