I’ll be home for Christmas

I am at the Amsterdam airport. There is a fake fire. There is an art museum. What?!

The last year was undoubtedly the first or second hardest of my life, and by far the loneliest. Putting together a slideshow of photos to show the folks back home, I realized how much I have seen, even though parts it it were also suffocatingly boring, too.

But I feel oddly like I was just here in the West mere days ago. Like the whole last year didn’t happen.

How should I act when I get home? How will people expect me to act? How am I supposed to feel? I think I’m going to feel awkward. I think my family will pay me more attention than I can handle – I think I’ll need to process this change of environment on my own, in my own emotional space, for a day or two. Even the mere fact of being around people who are so loving and involved will be hard to adjust to. The effort required to be one’s sole guardian and protector builds a hardness that may be difficult to reverse.

But to be clear, going home this Christmas is one of the happiest things I’ve ever done. I didn’t think it would happen, and I am filled with pure gratitude that it worked out this way.

I don’t think I’ll want to go back to Tanzania. I don’t think the novelty of being in an easy, loving, beloved place is going to wear off in three and half weeks. It’s just too hard to live somewhere that doesn’t speak to you. The effort required causes constant internal tension.

And may I add that as I was leaving the house yesterday, I discovered I would not be able to wear my hiking boots home as planned because one of them had been colonized by ants, hundreds of ants?

I think I’ll be headed through Amsterdam in this direction again, soon.

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