Wednesday, February 27, 2008

Farewell Malawi

Well, we are back in the U.S. now. It is a bit strange, and we are settling in slowly. In the past, I have always had very little trouble adjusting from the slow, scaled-down world that is Africa to the busy, overflowing commercialism of the West. Give me an hour in a Target, and I'm good. But I expected this transition to take a bit longer, as I've been overseas for 2 and a half years now - much longer than my previous contracts.

Funny, now, to think of the U.S. as the busy place...while in Malawi everything is so full of life all the time - the throngs of people walking on the street every day, the noise, the chaos...but still things seem simpler. Everything in America seems designed to just take your money, keep you busy all the time, never let you stop and soak up the world around you.

We were sad to leave Malawi. People kept asking us, "are you excited to be going home?," which we had a difficult time answering, until we realized that it was the "home" word that was tripping us up. For now, Malawi is home. In a year or two, somewhere else will probably be home. But right now, the U.S. is a place we just visit.

The trip was easier than I expected. Actually, I'm finding that throughout this pregnancy, everything has been easier than I've been told. And I realized something: If an American (or European) tells you something is difficult, it is probably much easier than they say. If an African tells you something is easy, it is probably much more difficult than they say. I think this is because westerners want to get more credit than they are due, and African's don't want to upset you by giving you bad news.

So, although my butt was pretty dang sore after 18 hours in an airplane seat (and that was just one leg of the trip) so was everyone else's. Otherwise, the trip went smoothly, albeit with one major snag: our bags still haven't turned up, 2 days later. All four of our filled-to-the-maximum-weight bags. Cross your fingers they show up soon.