It’s funny, but I feel at peace being in Botswana. I made it back here last week after a lot of travel to and from the United States. The anxiety of scheduled time in the US (albeit for mostly social appointments) was a little overwhelming. I have simply lost my stamina and the ability to multitask. The alternative experience, however, was waiting for an hour on the tarmac at the Johannesburg airport for no apparent reason. Welcome home.
My two weeks at home were great, but exhausting. I was able to reconnect with so many of my friends and family, and was reminded how wide my network is in that country. I have some really great people in my life there. Running around and going out at night got to me – it really doesn’t reflect my lifestyle anymore and I was struggling to keep up. There are a lot of things about the US that I missed: showers, people, food, and endless sensory and social stimulation are on that list. I don’t know how I was ever bored in that country because there’s so much to do!
I found myself analyzing culture in the states. I didn’t get much mention of ways that I’ve changed, but I noticed that I perceive things differently now. Technology has really invaded every aspect of life in the developed world. I was walking around, shopping with a couple friends and they wanted to use their smart phones to find a store – I was mildly appalled that the iPhone effectively eliminated the simple task of asking for directions and, in effect, human interaction. Being “plugged in” to life on the grid again was the hardest adjustment for me. I am used to talking to people face-to-face, being stared at, and being called by name… but not having unlimited texting and 3G technology. The idea of being anonymous again was comforting to an extent, but I felt surprised that our culture has evolved beyond talking to one another. Surely things haven’t changed completely in one year; it’s me that has changed.
Everyone has the same questions about my life in Botswana and I found myself trying to summarize the past year for my friends and family… which is impossible. In another year it won’t be any easier to relate or to explain the slow process involved with this form of development.
It took me a few days (and a lot of sleep) to settle back in to my routine here. Of course, the week I got back I simultaneously lost water and electricity, which is only another part of the routine. I was pleasantly surprised to learn that most things stayed in tact while I was gone, and my projects were able to proceed in my absence. I had set tasks for my partners to take on while I was gone and they followed through. If this is a reflection on my progress here, I’ll gladly take it.
I have more to write, but not the time. Thank you again to everyone in the US who made my trip the excellent visit that it was.