My flight home from Africa landed a few hours ago.
Even though I've been traveling for two solid days, the "coming home" part didn't hit me until I was just barely walked down the plane ramp corridor in Salt Lake City, trailing my suit case behind me. We've been slowly losing members of our 15 person entourage for the last two days, as each person departs to a different location. And now it is my turn to say goodbye.
I feel empty. I reach my group and all I say is, "My heart feels so sad."
"Oh Chanti," Davy says, which is the nickname he chose for me the 2nd day of the trip and it stuck. "Of all people, I'm so glad you came. You are such a joy to be around. I will miss being with you everyday."
Then he pulls me in for a big hug. I hug the remaining people of our group, saying "we'll keep in touch," "hope to see you again someday," "I'll call you soon." Then I head off with Makele and Candace to meet our rides.
Makele and I agree that the transition to being home is going to work itself through in our quiet moments, and we say nothing else about it. Because I know one can't talk this emptiness away. But I know it'll stick for awhile. I feel it at night when I close my eyes and I see the faces of all my new friends. Or when I'm running and I really process the memories. All the emotions catch up to me. And my enlarged heart feels so deflated because I'm not there anymore. I'm here.
So I text my ma and pops to tell them I'm back home. My mom replies, "can't wait to hear the stories!" and my dad replies: "I'm so glad to know you're back on American soil."
Me: Soooo now probably isn't the time for me to say that next June there's a likelihood I'm moving to Swasiland?
Dad: ha. haha.....
Me: Quickly moving to more important matters, WHY IS IT SO FREAKING HOT?? Did the sun fall into this part of the earth while I was gone?? Because as it is winter in Africa, I'm used to wearing 2-5 layers.
Mom: Haha, welcome home! (And if you do move, I'm coming to visit).
Me: I'm taking all my clothes off.
And that is that.
Now I try to celebrate the birthday of my country, which feels more like rubbing salt in my wound because it's just a big reminder that I'm on the WRONG continental mass. And also, I'm used to going to bed at 9 pm Swasi time (currently it's 11 pm there), but I have to keep myself awake for at least another FIVE hours to reset my body clock. And if Carrie Underwood's singing at the Stadium of Fire keeps me awake any later than that, I'm going to be SO MAD.
I'll begin writing about my travels quickly. Because I need every human in the world to experience every second of the last 3 weeks of my life.
But in the meantime, if someone could tell me what to do, that would help. I can't remember how to be American.
Upward and onward,
(Are some of the images on my blog screwy to anyone else? Can't tell if the horrid temperature of America is just ruining my vision or what. But either way, I care too little to do anything about it right now. All I can think about is NOT SLEEPING. Aaaaaand how much I miss all the people and zebras and giraffes and sunsets and hot black men and rolling hills of Swasiland.)
Myself, Candace, and Makele "sleeping" on the plane.