the end.

i went from 85 degrees to 0 in about a week.

i’m back at school.  moved in to my apartment.  completed the first week of classes.  blowing my nose every few minutes (thank you, Indiana), and can hardly believe i was in africa a little over a couple weeks ago. 

Coming back to the states is a little like merging on to the Beltway around DC: you have to gun it or you’ll get run over by the semi’s.  not being able to ease into this life again is making me feel like i’ve been in a different world where society- businesses, people, traffic – is operated on an entirely different system..

wait..

i guess i was. 

living in tension is the new thought process that i can’t seem to escape.  just how extravagant should my spending be?  should i freeze my butt off walking a mile to classes, or just use the gas by driving?  why am i supporting a store run exclusively on cheap labor in foreign countries?  i took one bag to Uganda for 4 months and survived – do i really need half a car full of junk to live comfortably for one semester?

and so on and so forth.

i anticipated being uncomfortable, stretched, and assimilated into a brand new culture and way of life 4 months ago. culture shock is hard, but it goes hand in hand with excitment.  anticipation.  expectancy.  what i didn’t consider as much is the tension, guilt, and thought process that is second nature to me now that i’m back. 

most homes have a smell, right?  you know that distinct scent that may not neccesarily be good or bad, it’s just.. there.. sometimes it’s hard to put a finger on what it is exactly, you just know it in relation to a specific family or person.  after i’ve been away at school and come back, if mom isn’t cooking up a recipe that has a delicious wafting smell that permeates the whole house, i can smell it when i first get home.  after a while, it sets in again, and i become oblivious to it.   

right now the scent here is strong.  i noticed it when i couldn’t pick one cereal out of 50 trillion in the cereal isle. i noticed it when i realized i had to stop my conversation to be on time to class instead of 15 minutes late.  and i notice it every time i see an unfinished dinner plate discarded like it’s nothing.  i don’t want to boycott america.  i don’t even hate america.  i just don’t want to become oblivious to its scent again and seep right back into old habits.      

after studying and living abroad for almost half a year, i’ve concluded that i (still) know nothing about life. i can barely even process what i experienced, much less come out with a neat and packaged little lesson learned..

thanks for the listening ear.  it’s been fun. i don’t feel like i can really fully express myself these days (talking about africa), but…  if you ever have a cup of coffee and some time to chat, i’m all yours =)

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6 Comments

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6 responses to “the end.

  1. Friend… wow, really well put – sounds like you are starting to be able to put into words what we were talking about the other day.
    thanks for letting us into the struggle!

  2. Sarah G

    Thinking of you as you’re readjusting, dear friend. I think there are some things that you will get used to again, like it was before you left, but other things you will never be able to change or forget – and that definitely makes you a better person. (Although you’ve always been a wonderful person!) It’s exciting to see how you’ve grown through these experiences overseas.

    Next time we’re in the same town, I’ll make sure there’s a cup of coffee available. I’d love to steal some of your time and hear more about your life!! I love you very much. Hope to see you again sooner than later. For now, good luck with the weather and with classes.

  3. Hey girllll….
    welcome to the world of higher values!! it takes a stay in Africa, or any 3rd world visit to see with different eyes….i finally reconciled it all with God and His choice of my birth nation…we are who we are because of our family of origin, culture and yes, wealth…God chose this for us, I am always amazed by His grace, and yes now that i have been out of 3rd world missions for so many years i have not lost the value of His world, and the percieved inequalities thereof, and the opportunities they presents….bottom line,
    Don’t feel quilty…by doing so, you are not accepting God’s grace in your world….
    Do what you can with what you have, motivated by His love
    the when, and how will develop as you continue to grow in your lust for life….

    And always,
    You go girl!!!!!!!

    Come see me!!!! Love and delight in watching your travels, Sue

  4. Debby Leach

    Sarah,

    When you come back to Maryland…let me know so we can set a date…… I want to sit with you over a cup of good coffee and chat about your experiences…. you have experienced so much and I know I can learn from you. Have a great semester back at school … Enjoy the snow! Go Green Bay Packers!

  5. Aunt Anne

    Dear Sarah,

    In all your entries, you have painted such colorful, poignant, and fascinating pictures of your life in Africa. Look at the memories that you will always carry in your heart! (and, think of the memories that you have already put into the hearts of all those little kids). They will think of you forever, as their big sister.
    Welcome home, niece! I am glad that you are back on our soil; but I’m sure that a part of you will always be in the villages and countryside of such simple, honest, and humble people. I guess that, if all Americans could experience what you did, maybe this country would finally ‘grow up’.
    God bless you for the angel that you are.
    Love,
    Aunt Anne p.s. You got the writer in you, girl!

  6. Caryn

    well said, sarah. i look forward to a cup of coffee with you. 🙂

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