I’m not going to sugar coat it. Traveling 7,787 miles away on your own is a challenging, hard, yet amazing experience. If you want to grow up quickly and wonder if you can handle life on your own, go spend 1 1/2 months in another culture on your own.
That first week in kakamega, kenya I’m pretty sure I questioned myself multiple times every day. What has (wow I was in Africa too long, my tenses and grammar are starting to look similar to theirs haha) I done? Why had I done it? There were times when homesickness gripped me so tightly and I would lay in my bed as tense as a board trying not to cry loud enough for my tutor companion to hear.
The days were so great – spending time with kids who maybe had never really felt loved, getting to say hi to a classroom of high schoolers who were doing their best to change the history of their family and the life they were born into – extreme poverty. If you remember my first blog about isaac, the first week I was able to love on multiple village kids like isaac. However, when I would get back at night, homesickness washed over me. I think it was the fact that I was in a completely different culture, in a different time zone, trying to navigate how to push outside my comfort zone and connect with these kids. I was exhausted after a day and I’d come back and want nothing more than a hot shower and to talk to my family, but instead, usually I’d find the power was out so a dark cold shower was inevitable and I couldn’t contact my family because the wifi was off. Talk about feeling helpless.
I’m grateful for those first weeks and for the all consuming helplessness because that pushed me to the only one whose always with me wherever I go – the Lord. I began to find solace and peace in him. I found a home underneath his wings.
1 1/2 months was a perfect amount of time for me because it took me a couple weeks to adjust and a few more to mainly step outside my comfort zone and just start conversations or go do things on my own and not care what anyone thought. By the end, I was able to be carefree and just be in awkward situations. I had emerged a girl who had a new form of patience. Here in the states we put an unneeded pressure on ourselves. Although I missed finding the most efficient way to get things done, there’s beauty in the painfully slow decision making and follow through that occurs in Africa. There’s beauty in the journey instead of rushing to the finish line. I am so much calmer and mellow. I have a new sense of trust and just an ability to release my life over to the Lord and trust. I hope that doesn’t leave the longer I’m in the states.
I dreamt about coming home and visualized seeing my family at the gate so many times. Nothing like seeing my parents and sister with balloons and arms waiting to hug me after 36 hours of traveling. I was so exhausted and so happy. Now that I’m back, my mind keeps going to Africa and to my experiences and to Kiswahili and to stories or people. I want to share everything but don’t fully know how to. Life here had continued without me and I’m getting back into it. I feel like the transition was too easy and I’m waiting for the hurdles to come. I kind of feel like I’m in limbo. It’s good to be home, and I’m grateful to be back, but I miss these faces and I miss the innocence and the joy there. My mind is still there and I have so many stories I want to share. So I’m trying to be fully present in America while not forgetting everything in kenya . Kinda hard. So if you want to hear stories don’t hesitate to ask..I have plenty and don’t want to overload my family haha.