So I’ve been home for two weeks now. Two weeks! I didn’t realize that until I just typed it. I don’t think I’ve done a good job adjusting to home life, and I’m definitely failing on the whole tell-everyone-how-Africa-was front. Let me tell you, it is exhausting to talk about this past semester. I’m getting better, but my limit seems to be an hour before I start having out-of-body experiences.
Anyway, my travels home were almost fine. I survived the 16 hour flight from Joburg to JFK, but got home to find my suitcase had been cut open and pilfered through. Since I am a grade-A idiot, I put my dad’s Nikon D3000 in that suitcase. I know, total rookie move. Of course it was stolen. It was the first time I ever checked a camera/valuable…and the last. I remember our program coordinators always telling us that we could never let our guard down, because that would be the moment something would go wrong. I made it through the semester without getting sick, mugged, robbed, harassed, etc, but I slipped up by checking that camera and karma jumped at the chance to get back at me. Don’t worry, I have filed claims with every single organization even remotely related to international travel in the hopes that I can salvage some of my pride. Luckily I had all the photos already on my computer, but the idea of someone going through my stuff and my pictures is disturbing. Let this be a lesson to….me, because I’m the only person stupid enough to check a camera.
Let’s see, culture shock? Does it exist? I guess. The resonating emotion most of us have had is just a feeling of numbness, as depressing as that sounds. I know for me it’s been hard to go from Durban to Bergen County, New Jersey, because people here are…how to put this nicely…living carefree. I was afraid I would slip back into the North Jersey mentality of “I’m the center of the universe and I deserve all the nice things in the world” but then a week went by and I realized I had yet to spend any money. Seriously, I hadn’t even touched American currency yet. That makes it sound like I didn’t leave my house for a week, but I swear I did.
Every shower has been better than the last, bagels and pizza make me smile, and I couldn’t be less excited about people’s soap-opera lives. The nice thing about going abroad 9000 miles away is you have absolutely no way of hearing everyones problems on even a weekly basis. I also spent the semester thoroughly enjoying deleting emails and putting things in my “look at in December” folder. Well, now it’s December. So now I have to, like, figure out my life.
I have really enjoyed listening to my friends who are going abroad in the spring talk about how nervous they are. I felt exactly the same way they did, but all I can really say to them is that yes, you will be uncomfortable and it will be hard to leave home but, my goodness, you’ll never want to come back home by the end. There is another Gettysburg student doing my program next semester, and I will be living vicariously through her the whole time. It’s going to suck.
I don’t think I will be using this blog for a bit, however I do plan on continuing it on my next abroad adventure…because there will be another one. Can’t get rid of me that easily, Mama Afrika.