Friday, September 21, 2007

Time to Come Home



A couple signs that you're ready to come home from travelling:

You'd rather skip a meal than find yet another restaurant to eat in except for your husbands (valid) complaints about wasting away.

You land in Munich and want more than almost anything to spend your last day in bed watching bad movies in English.

You fly through Madrid and are relieved rather than sad that you don't have a chance to check it out before moving on.

So in almost every way I was ready for home. But I was still really sad to see it all come to an end. When we left to start this adventure, I expected to have some mixed emotions upon departing, a little sadness or anxiety to go along with the excitement. But as soon as we got to the airport, I was only excited. Coming home has been a different story, with relief coupled with more ambivalence and sadness than I anticipated.

Because we spent the last two weeks working our way through Eastern to ever more Western Europe, I haven't experienced the strong feelings of culture shock that I would have expected after India or Southeast Asia or Africa. Rather, I've felt more in limbo land than anything, coming home to see off my brother-in-law and his wife for their move to LA and living with my in-laws while we wait to find a place to live.

A dear friend of mine travelled around South America for five months. When I met her, she didn't say much about it. Then once she mentioned she had slides from the trip. It was maybe a year later that we got the show. Now that we've done this trip, I better understand how it's something that in many ways is hard to share effectively. And we're still processing a lot of it and how we've changed because of it. My best answer when asked "So how was it?" is "Really great." True, but not very revealing, I suppose. I can rattle a few favorite countries (always in the plural and then with the caveat that we loved them all), and I know that many of the best experiences everywhere were times we really got to interact with people who lived there and opened up their lives to us, like staying with the Maasai family and taking the motorcycle tour in Vietnam. But I still have a lot of moments when even I'm in awe of all our experiences when something comes up, like when I could't see a doctor in Pushkar because someone had been gored by a bull in the market that morning. Or seeing a lion eating a zebra only 8 feet away.

As you can probably tell from this scattershot entry, my thoughts are a bit scattered on the matter. But it's good to be back, and we'll continue to share more about being home.

1 comment:

ambika said...

Believe me, I feel you. It was funny talking about the return-home-from-Prague experience with you at the barbecue. Brought back a lot of memories and made me recall how strange it felt to be back. Which is not what you expect when all you've been is homesick.