The flights were easy and all connections made on time and with ease. We even had two empty seats on our row on the long flight, so I was able to stretch out a bit and sleep a bit more comfortably.
We weren’t here for about twenty minutes before I saw the first flotsam and jetsam of the political fracas going on here in the US. It is, as is usual right before an election, at a fever pitch. But the experience of going from South Africa, where it is a distant drumbeat at most, to here where it is all-consuming, is jarring and dismaying. Some of the worst parts of our culture is the way we beat each other over our political beliefs and I must say I didn’t miss that. I am being very deliberate in the ways that I am consuming media–I am staying away from television altogether, and plan to do so until (and probably after) the election. I am not reading things on facebook that allude to political debate. I just don’t want it in my consciousness. Very different from in the past where I felt like it was very important.
On a creature comfort level, I am very content. The temperatures are warmer, the hot water is abundant and my favorite pillow was awaiting my return. It’s nice to be back in comfortable, familiar surroundings.
Jet lag is not too bad. We were pretty tired last night and went to bed early, partly a function of the time change and partly a function of the broken sleep we got on the plane. Awake bright and early in the morning, though. Not entirely a bad thing. One or two more days and we will probably be back in a rhythm that matches this time zone. Much easier than I anticipated.
Getting to see friends we have missed is so gratifying. We feel loved and uplifted and supported and appreciated. And we love and support and appreciate each of them as well.
Yet, we are melancholy. We miss South Africa. We miss the grand scenery, the crush of people, the way everything seems packed in and connected. Driving through the wide spaces that separate our various homes, I marvel at the disconnected feeling I have. I see everything with fresh eyes, and it’s beautiful, but it’s different.
I’m still trying to integrate everything into one cohesive whole, one way of viewing the world, one philosophy. I have yet to figure anything out.
Before we left South Africa, I would have said that I had changed, somewhat, but now that we’re back I’m feeling it even more deeply. I’m not sure how to be. I feel off balance, off center.
One of the rhetorical questions I like to pose to myself is, “What do you want to be when you grow up?” Today, more than usual, I don’t know.