Sunday, October 23, 2016

Coming Home


            I recently retuned to the United States for a month of home leave before starting my new job with the Peace Corps Madagascar.  After all of the stress of leaving my site for the last time and getting all of my stuff to Tana I was looking forward to going home, seeing friends and family, and just relaxing for a bit.  And the food; of course the food.  That was the majority of what I was looking forward to.  Sorry family and friends, but lets be honest, food is what makes up a Peace Corps Volunteers’ dreams.  If you see a volunteer starring into space, most likely there is a hamburger or some other delicious food in their minds eye.  

            To be honest I was a little nervous about going home.  I had been away for two years.  My way of life and the way I looked at life and the world was different.  But it wasn’t only me whose life had moved on, but all of those I knew back home as well.  Their life hadn’t stopped when I left but moved on also.  Changes were made in their lives, or not, but things were going to be different when I returned I knew.  People also still had to work.  I was on a month long vacation to reconnect to my family and friends, but they still had to live their lives.  That meant being gone for a large majority of the day at work.  What was I going to do with myself during all that time?  And how was I going to get around to do anything for that matter? 
            Being back in the States was weird for sure.  For starters, my whole life for the past two years had revolved around Malagasy life and Peace Corps.  Everything related to it.  I would give comparisons of how things were in Madagascar, “I had to walk to fetch all of the water I used,” “We walk to the market everyday to buy fresh vegetables,” or “I poop in a hole.”  It was fine at first; people seemed to like hearing bits of my life in Madagascar.  But there are only so many times you can compare things before people get bored or annoyed by it.  Though no one ever said they did I felt like I was doing too much, so I held my tongue and tried to relate only the most prominent points.  As the stories of my life abroad were just that, stories unconnected to their life, the conversations of the people around me were equally unconnected to me.  I understood what they were talking about but it had no meaning to me.  What’s worse is that many times it seemed so trivial to me. 
            Then there were the questions and explanations.  This I never tired of; it gave me a free opportunity to talk about my life and Madagascar.  The questions varied just as much as peoples true interest in what I was saying.  There were always the generic “How was Madagascar?” or “What did you do there?” which was usually combined with wanting to invest very little time in hearing the answer.  But there were also the in depth questions, often ones that I myself had yet to ask about the culture I had been living in.  These were the gems; the conversations I loved having.  Then there were the slideshows.  I must have shown the same pictures of Madagascar ten or fifteen times at least but I never bored of it.  It was my time to shine and I was at liberty to talk as much as I wanted about Madagascar. 
            By the end of my time away I was ready to get back to Madagascar.  America was great, the food was amazing, and I loved spending time with my family and friends, but it wasn’t where I belonged; at least not at this moment in my life.  My life was in Madagascar.  It was what I knew.  What I lived.  I had a new job to get back to in Madagascar and I was ready to start it and be back in the country that had become my home.  I still had this life that I wanted to live. 

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