It is strange. Everyone keeps asking me if I have adjusted to being back. I once again, manage to slink myself into another society, culture, without needing to come up for air. What can I say… I am good at adapting. I had my first jump into the supermarket the other day, my first walk through the outdoor mall, and my first trip to an American mass. I would say that the first two were far less shocking than the latter. Sure, I was struck with the abundance of things that I have not had, but I have gotten along just fine without them, that their presence doesn’t distract me.
Going to church, however, was quite another story. I suddenly found myself surrounded by the music that I was raised singing. I found a worship service whose liturgical rhythm I could beat to, worship to, pray to. I found time for prayer and silence, and found time to belt out. I found a mass I could be at home in. I don’t think I have even begun to realize just how difficult it was attending in masses that were in foreign languages, with foreign music (much of it being 18th century british music). More importantly, it was wonderful to be at a worship service where I didn’t come with a pen, paper and voice recorder. It has been so strange leaving behind my voice recorder, as it was an extension of my own body this past year. I guess I am free to finally fully participate without having one eye open as I pray.
One thing has become painfully clear to me. For as much as I have longed for a decent internet connection over the past year, I suddenly feel like there is absolutely nothing on there worth spending my time on. It is worse than cable television.
Reading through the news again, in particular the bbc Africa news, I begin to realize just what Africa people are seeing. It is the Africa of HIV/AIDS, Civil War, Political instability, and the occasional happy story. On a good note, Mauritania has finally outlawed slavery.
All the same, my African experience was quite different.
I visited my doctor yesterday. It was a fun exercise explaining my medical history to him over this past year and seeing his eyes widen larger and larger with each added illness. Somehow I am saying this proudly. What kind of macabre self love do I have?
These jumble of thoughts are an complete inadequate reflection of my now two weeks back in the US. That is the terribly thing about writing, it really only ever reflects the current state when you are writing…. Course those are probably silly words coming from the man who writes almost everything that comes to his head.