For those of you who followed my previous blog, you know my story. For new readers, I’ll give you the short version- I’ve just returned from a year living in Tanzania, East Africa with my husband and toddler. Sounds exotic doesn’t it? It was, sort of. It was also mundane and frustrating and beautiful and lonely and fulfilling. But it’s over. Just like that. Another year, come and gone.
While I am usually surprised by how fast time moves when I find myself facing a new year, this year the passage of time has seemed a little more palpable, a little more monumental. This ‘thing’ [our year in Africa] that was our topic of conversation and planning for SO LONG… this thing which had (“Oh, yes. We’re moving to Africa for a year.”) and has (“Oh, yes. We’ve just returned from living in Africa for a year.”) come to define us is over. Done.
It’s huge, right, to have accomplished this? The thing is, in the month since we returned to our home in North Carolina, I am so caught up in and distracted by the process of settling in, getting E adjusted to school, getting myself adjusted to work, keeping a house running and my marriage healthy and my family fed and my boss appeased, that I have no space left in my day to think about just how monumental of an accomplishment this past year was. Or what it means to us, as a family and as individuals. I haven’t had the space to think about how we will define ourselves now; now that Africa is over. Now that we are back.
One thing I have had the time to realize, however, is that I have had a longing to write again. With a toddler, one often finds themselves forced to stop and look, closely, at what is right in front of you; to slow down and take things in. Everyday, Africa asked that of us too, and writing about it helped me to process, to catalog, document, and capture…to remember. These things seem like luxuries now, and that saddens me. I don’t want them to be things that I had in life, when I had the time. I want them to be things for which I make the time. And I hope, in the process, that it’ll be a way to keep Africa- and all that I learned about myself as a result of our time there- with me always.
So, that’s that. I’m going to keep blogging; about my family’s return to our regularly scheduled program. I can’t promise that it’ll be as exciting as my stories from Tanzania, but it will be honest. (Or at least partly so.)