I'm not going to lie. It's hard to believe that I've only been back at home in the states for 1 1/2 weeks. So much has happened as I try to get myself situated to move forward with life here while seeing everyone and coming to terms with the fact that I have finished my service in Tanzania. So far things are looking up: I've got a job, it's looking like my friend and I most likely have an apartment lined up, and while I am still trying to work on getting into those classes for speech and language pathology, it seems like things are moving forward for that as well. I'm back at karate, back to visiting all my favorite spots, and reconnecting with everyone I've lost touch with during my extended stay out of the country. And the food; good Lord I've eaten SOOO much good food since I've been back!!!! :D
But, off and on it hits me: I'm gone now. I've left Africa and I don't know when I'll be back. I want to go back some day. When I left, I knew that it was time; I knew that my service at Wesley had ended. But does that mean that my service to Africa has ended? Only God knows the answer to that question, but I feel in my heart that it is not over yet. Yes, America is home, but Tanzania is my home now too. When I was in Tanzania, America became like a dream life for me: something so far away and completely unrelated to what I was experiencing in Tanzania. Now, I guess the opposite will become true. As my life in America becomes more real, my life in Tanzania will feel further and further away. But, America never truly left me while I was there, and I don't think Tanzania will ever truly leave me just because I'm here.
Thankfully, there are so many reminders of my life in Tanzania that surround me. I still speak occasional Swahili words without thinking about it. I've got a HUGE stack of goodbye letters from my students that I read before I left, but have not read since I've arrived in America. I think it'll be a very emotional experience for me now that I'm so far away from them. Plus I've got all kinds of home decorations and outfits that I wear proudly to church and around town. The other night, I was showing some Tanzanian TV commercials and Gospel music videos to my parents on youtube. For me, I was transported back to Pastor Umba's house. For me, it was like I was in the sitting room, eating dinner with the family, talking and sharing and watching TV. I know that my parents couldn't understand anything that was being said, and some of it's pretty strange to us in our culture, but it was a chance to share yet another small part of my life in Tanzania. And today, I went through my pictures that I took over the last year and a half. There's a LOT of them. I feel like I will have no troubles remembering my time in Tanzania. I filled up just about 5 journals (and they're not particularly small journals either), took thousands of pictures, and I've got my whole blog documenting my experiences. As I was going through the pictures, I remembered what it was like walking through the hot and dusty streets in town, and the funny things my students have said and done. Those smiles and those faces, those places and those times will always stay with me. I've tried my hardest to make sure of that, but I still pray that one day I will be able to return.
May the Lord Bless You and Keep You,