Two days ago, I returned from a nearly a month-long voyage to Canada then a grand tour of the East Coast visiting friends in New York, Philadelphia, Boston, and Washington D.C. The wonderful thing about being a wanderlust is that you end up with great friends literally all over the world. There is something about being together in a foreign place, and having that exotic, foreign experience that really bonds people. I realized many of my good friends whom I was visiting were friendships that were born out of my previous time abroad.
The flip side of being a wanderlust is that you can never spend a lot of time with any one group of friends. I was slightly sadden by the fact that I will be jetting off to London in two weeks and likely won’t see these loves for another year or longer. Though I have to say it is quite incredible how easily conversations flow between me and people whom I haven’t seen in two years, and some with very minimal contact. I suppose that’s how you know that is a friendship here to stay.
I would say that I am 90% integrated back to life in the modern world. I even went on a bit of shopping binge in New York and Philadelphia. Some old habits die hard. I find myself having thoughts about the ironies of life in this modern world. In this world, I shower everyday, yet I don’t ever really get that dirty. I should’ve been showering/bathing everyday in my village, but lack of running water made it impossible. While using household appliances like the powerful washer and dryer or the vacuum cleaner, I think about how the floor and the clothes really aren’t that dirty and using those machinery seem like a waste. It would have made more sense to have those things in Cameroon, but lack of electricity, among other factors, made it pretty impossible. Sometimes, the thought that my “bathroom” over just a little over a month ago, was literally a hole in the ground, really blows my mind.
So even though 90% of me is well adjusted, there is that 10% that still have these thoughts and feel conflicted with my life then and my life now. A message from my replacement to tell me my neighbor boy misses me and that I should phone if I get the chance put tears in my eyes. That 10% of me is still so attached to that life back there, and in some ways, I hope this never goes away. It keeps me grounded, and gives me perspective.
While in New York City, I was standing in Times Square and had a very surreal moment. This was my life a month ago:
And this was my life at that moment in time: