Thursday, March 22, 2012

How was Africa?

Tomorrow I will be back in the US for 3 weeks.  I still haven't really unpacked.  Seriously, my passport is still in my laptop bag.  I have a few dollars in US currency, a few thousand shillings (sounds more impressive than it really is) and a few Euro all in the same bag.

A question that so many seem to keep asking is "How was Africa?"  I wish that there was a simple answer but there isn't.  Africa was great.  It was an incredible experience to live there for 6 months.  Seriously, I never expected that I would spend so much time overseas.  I always imagined possibly going to Germany one day but I always had an irrational fear of flying over the ocean.  I wasn't afraid of the plane crashing in the ocean.  No, even crazier (do you expect anything else from me?) - I was afraid that the plane would crash and I'd live and get eaten by a shark.  I know, crazy.  But the point is that I never dreamed of living overseas for any amount of time.

Being back now has been...difficult.  I think that I'm going through more culture shock coming back to the US than I did going to Kenya.  I keep having to remind myself not to judge people for their actions because they haven't had the same experiences that I had.  I started a part time job with the last company I worked for.  It's strange.  I haven't had a job in 6 months.  Now I'm back to working.  It feels so...well, dull and lifeless.  There are no orphans to hang out with.  There are no street kids to play checkers with.  There are no random power outages to deal with.  I guess it's more than work that seems dull.  To be honest, most things do.  I mean, I love begin around people back here.  It's been great to see so many awesome people.  At the same time, I find myself longing for home back in Kenya (I promise to post more about this soon...).  I was talking to my friend Ryan yesterday and he asked me when it comes to day-to-day life and culture, which do I prefer.  I said Kenya.  It may not have a choice of 5 Starbucks within 10 miles of me to choose from.  But when I do get that good cup of coffee from somewhere, I love it!  Things seem to slow down and become a more restful pace in Kenya.  Things seem to really make sense there.  Even when they don't really make sense, it does my the simple phrase "this is Africa".

I'm feeling lately that people expect me to be over joyed to be back and full of laughter all the time.  And I am joyful to be with people here.  But lately I feel like I'm wearing a mask and pretending to be more enthused than I really am.  But on the inside, I'm homesick now.

I don't know if this makes any sense at all.  Thank you Wegmans for your free wifi in your marketplace!

4 comments:

  1. Africa is a magical place! You simply can’t get the continent out of your head!

    Elderly Care

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    1. Your'e right. Africa is absolutely amazing. I take it you've been there?

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  2. Reading your post makes me so enthusiastic about taking a trip to Africa however I am nostalgic at the same time because of the job monotonies you describe here.

    Iraqi Dinar Exchange Rate

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    1. Have you taken a trip to Africa before? It's incredibly life changing. As for the job monotonies, I wrote this several weeks ago and to be honest, I still feel the same way most days. What keeps me going is that I'm preparing my next trip to Kenya (hoping to leave August 1st) that will be a rather indefinite stay.

      Most people have given up on finding a job that they are content in, satisfied by and FULFILLED by. Most people settle for a job that meets their needs and they never become fulfilled. The truth is that the job is out there that not only pays the bills but brings you joy. It may take some work to get that job, but it's there. And when you find it, man, going to work is a joy.

      All the best to you!

      -Ray

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