Saturday, October 6, 2012

Landing & Re-entry

I'm going to be posting the ones I wrote in Uganda concurrently with writing new ones, I hope that isn't too confusing.

Wow, landing back in America is interesting. I'm still working through this funky flu that I picked up before we left and while I felt pretty good yesterday, I woke up quite queasy this morning. I don't care now, I'm home!!! Back to my own doctor, access to safe equipment and medications if I need them, where my family is if something happened to me - no more worries about being stuck in Africa alone in a hospital with some serious illness (because that's what I was worried about when I got sick- believe it!) So if I have to be queasy and still not quite well, at least I'm home!!!

I don't know where to start, so this might be a bit all over the place. Everything seems like.. so much here. There's so much stuff. So much to see, my eyes don't know where to rest. Eidie asks me for things and I know the motions with my body, muscle memory of where the cereal is, where the spoons are. I open the spoon drawer and my brain is like, "Woah!! Look at all those spoons!!" And then I remember that we have lots of spoons. I think that's going to just take time, to remember that there are many houses, that there are so many white people, and that the concept of physical space here is quite different.

In Uganda, I could hug people, squish next to them when we sat if I needed to, pick up other people's children. I could feel myself transitioning on the plane when being next to the person I was sitting by made me feel a little invaded and claustrophobic. Plus I was smooshed between two people and the bulkhead, so that probably didn't help, but I just noticed it as it was happening.

When I got off the plane it finally felt like I was going to see my family, it finally felt real and not so far away. Eidie ran up to me and it was so strange, it was like seeing her in high definition or something. Then I saw Dryden and Niall and it just felt so strange and delicious, these giant beautiful children running straight for me. My brain felt like it couldn't hold all that information. Then immediately Niall's shoving something in my face asking me if I'm hungry and Eidie's asking me questions and I'm hugging my Best Husband and it was all so, so familiar, even if it felt like a distant memory.

I think the whole theme of this post is going to be about the familiar and unfamiliar - so if that theme comes up over and over, bear with me, I'm still in a state of wonder and awe at all that I'm feeling.

We drove home and I couldn't stop looking at all of the cars, filled with people of so many colors. Smoking, and eating, and talking on cell phones as they drove, and largely in empty cars, rather than the ebony people that I am used to being surrounded by, who don't generally smoke, who have piles of goods, or children in their laps, smooshed into matatus (taxi vans) so tightly. The buildings here are not covered in red dust, and there aren't broken down trucks everywhere surrounded by lanky black men discussing loudly how best to fix it. There aren't tall, shapely women with round bottoms and incredibly strong legs with papyrus, or wood, or jerry cans on their heads walking down the road.  No little boys and girls running around in packs, in various states of undress and unrestrained joy on their faces. It's weird here. In some ways, it makes me sad.

I slipped into a hot bath - Wait, let me say that once more: a HOT. BATH. Two special words!! I got into a nice hot bath last night and as the water eased over my skin I felt each muscle release in response, and I looked at my feet and felt tremendously grateful for all that I have access to here. A hot bath in the city might not be a big deal (I don't know, I didn't visit people in Kampala or Entebbe), but in Kasana, it's not even a concept one would even be able to explain. Running water is a gift- it's not always on and when it is, it's not safe to drink. You can definitely do laundry or shower with it but hot water is a huge, huge luxury. I have a hard time imagining anyone taking a full on bath, just because of the work involved to heat the water over a fire, find a container big enough, and then to have the luxury of time to be able to just sit in it.

Re-entry is weird and hard and exquisite. I feel like I'm very far away, and very in the moment at the same time. I have the duality of my body knowing the motions and my brain in this high state of wonder and amazement. I have a need to just sit and be, and a family that needs me involved. I feel like my Best Husband has gone to wonderful lengths to make this adjustment time as easy for me as possible while still honoring his own need to have the help that he missed while I was gone. I feel incredibly strong, tempered by all that I had to do to go on this trip and go home, pushing myself so incredibly hard in some ways, and practicing new coping skills as I went through the fire of it all, and I feel delicate, and fragile in many ways at the same time.
On the road from Shanti Uganda

I slept very hard and woke up feeling confused, Eidie was talking and my bed was soft and smelled so good, and my husband was right there, and I realized I was home and I laughed to myself and hugged my pillow. I'm home!! And, I left home to get here.

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