Welcome back, ladies and gentlemen, I’ll get right in to it. Here is a Part II of The Long, Lost Blogpost, continuing where I left off last week…
….After vacation, I headed out on my second vacation (Peace Corps, the toughest job you’ll ever love), back to
A lot of people have asked me, “so, did you have reverse culture shock? Is it weird going back?” The answer is “yeah, but only for a little while.” I think it first struck me during my layover in
Africa. The Johannesburg airport is basically a shopping
mall with airplanes parked outside - the efficiency of capitalism on full
display. Don’t just sit and wait, you’re wasting valuable time you could spend
shopping! It’s difficult to explain the feeling… but…the stores were all filled
with “products” and everything seemed so perfect and overdone. Part of me
wanted to burst out laughing at how absurd all the souvenir shops seemed with
their “authentic” trinkets, selling a piece of the “wild and untamed” dark
continent for you bring home and exhibit in your living room. And, how self-important
everyone seemed talking loudly on their smartphones. And, all the lonely people
staring into their screen of choice, but no one talking to each other as we sat
together waiting. Also, I walked way slower than everyone around me. I tried to go faster, but decided I rather
liked making other people go around me. Besides, I was the only sane one there.
When I finally got off in
At the pub, my family and I started the long process of “catching up.” I ordered a Reuben and my first IPA in over a year. It was a bit of a shock to me when the waitress asked for my ID. Part of me wanted to explain how unnecessary it was – I’d just come from far more dangerous and wild places, where someone younger than 21 drinking a beer was the least of anyone’s worries. The other part of me was impressed that a government was capable of enforcing a law.
For the first couple days, I caught up on sleep and re-entered
Clean. New. Clothes. a new haircut, food that is EFFING DELICIOUS, 500 TV
CHANNELS IN HD, CARS EVERYWHERE, FAST INTERNET, HOT SHOWERS, COLD BEER, WASHERS
AND DRYERS, CREAM FOR YOUR COFFEE, YOU NAME IT, WE GOT ITTT IN AMERICA! WITH A
SIDE OF FREEDOM FRIES! Oh the sweetness
of being in a place where things just work! America, you’re not so bad.
Time flew as I raced around seeing family and friends. It was really nice to catch up with people I hadn’t seen in over a year. I handed out some souvenirs and told stories about my travels, trying to cram a year’s experience into five minutes. By the end of my trip, I had perfected a boiled-down thirty second spiel for the average listener. It’s not that people weren’t interested in what I had to say; it’s just that you cannot begin to convey it to them in a way that really comes through. It’s not that the experience is “too profound.” It is just too vast and too different all at once.
No sooner did things start to feel normal again, like I was home, then I needed to get back on a plane. Going back to Peace Corps life was a little difficult. When my flight in
cancelled, I was a hopeful that I might get a couple of days vacation added
on. Unfortunately, JetBlue figured out a
solution and I was on my way. Of course, I was on a post-America high, but this
quickly came crashing down as I re-confronted the daily struggles of life in Madagascar. This
began immediately when I walked out of the airport in Tana, weighted down by a
bag and dragging my suitcase, and was mobbed by 20 taxi drivers…
There you have the end of Part II. Part III will be on its way after the holidays. Have a Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!