Surreal.

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I have been home for a week exactly.  One 2 hour flight to Jo’berg, and then a 12 hour flight to London and finally a 7 hour flight to Boston.  During the trip I met countless travelers who I noticed were always eager to learn about my adventure as well as share theirs.  As soon as I sat down for the flight to Jo’berg, I met two men who immediately wanted to converse about their journeys as well as nearly interrogate me on mine.  One was about to embark on a journey to Germany and then to the U.S. and to Canada for six months. The other was a resident in London however was just heading to South Africa for a quick getaway.   I have noticed from staying at hostels and backpackers in Namibia that most travelers are lonely.  If people travel alone they are usually keen to make conversation and simply have some company.  Typically, when I have traveled alone I tend to gravitate towards others as well.. perhaps it is just the human contact I crave or a friendly face and smile to share stories.   Either way, my nerves were aflutter yet they somehow were eased by these carefree moments and interactions with strangers.

Since being home, I have had the luxury to see a few of my favorite people and somehow have easily fallen back into my routine in Boston.  One thing is absolutely certain, being back in your mother’s arms is probably the best feeling in the world.  Jo picked me up from the airport and we had one of those scenes from a movie where each person runs at the other and then hugs the other while crying. It was pretty much that exact scene.  I missed her a lot and seeing her made all my nervous energy dissipate.  Jo drove me home to Princeton and my Mom hugged me while she had tears streaming down her face. Dad couldn’t stop saying, “you know, hunny, you really don’t have to go back,..” To say the least I certainly feel surrounded by love and warmth. 

A few things I had forgotten:

– New England is so green… when did that happen?! Compared to Africa everything here looks like a tropical jungle – when you aren’t used to seeing how lush everything it is, it is quite impressive
– Trees are really really tall here. I never realized it but most of the trees in Namibia are quite stout and sparse given the lack of rain. 
– New England is incredibly clean. I recall from time to time thinking that there is trash on the streets in Boston but actually, it is spotless..  In Namibia, I have seen people throw trash out of windows and sometimes when I go for a run you see plastic bags scattering the plains.  That would be a rare sight here.

– Juice. Juice made from kale, pineapple or essentially any fruit or vegetable is AMAZING – the real question is… can I bring my juicer back to Namibia and secondly, can you juice mutton? (Don’t answer that.) Sigh… okay no juicer then. 

– I missed everything.  Having a little distance from your home makes you realize how special everyone and everything is. I was simply walking in Boston yesterday and looked around and noticed how lucky I am to live where I live.  Seeing people who are fortunate enough to have food everyday and the luxury to be able to simply walk to the store if they want something particular.  I suppose being back for this month has forced me to realize that I must cherish each and every moment.   Whether it be the friendly encounter with a stranger on a flight, someone you meet in the cue at the grocery store, or sitting looking at the Boston Harbor or the lake with your best friend. You never know how long these moments will last.  I know this month is going to go by so fast and I know I am not going to be able to see everyone I would like to see and before I know it, I will be back in Uis, surrounded by kids yelling “Miss! Miss! Miss!” – “You must give me…”

So while I am here, I am going to enjoy the quiet and relish all the delicious things in a first world country including:
– hot showers anytime
– no dirt/dust/sand anything sticky on your feet while inside your house
– socks without holes
– a real comforter and clean towels
– windows… may seen overrated at times, but I assure you they are not! 
– smoothies
– fresh vegetables and especially home made pesto
– real coffee vs. instant coffee (I am not complaining but real coffee is insanely good) – especially made by the Chef.
– a car vs. hitchhiking. (NOT overrated. EVER.)
– washer/dryer – all I can say is… wow. I love you?

Somehow after writing this list, I can’t help but to miss my learners and of course, Loretha.  A few of my kids stopped by the night before I left and gave me notes they had written telling me how missed I would be while I was away.  As hard as it will be to return and leave my home, family, and people I love, I know being back will yet again force me to reflect on who/where I spend my time moving forward. I think the biggest “a-ha!” moment has been for me to not waste time on people or things that don’t give back the same way.  A perhaps simple thought but nonetheless important lesson.  Now back to my warm cup of coffee while looking out over Lake Winnie. ~ Bliss ~