Tuesday, August 4, 2015

traveling home through ten time zones

I am back from my second trip to Kenya. In the past twenty-four hours, I have done mostly basic things: sleep, laundry, mail sorting, unpacking, a to-do list, a few groceries to eat. I have also texted my teammates, sat and stared out a window, cried, and made lots of coffee.

As I walk around in a haze of jet lag and memories, I keep thinking about all of the ways that the physical adjustment of returning from a big trip mirrors what happens internally. The travel required to get home from being half way around the world - moving through ten time zones with two long flights, a layover, drives to and from the airport, not to mention checking bags and going through security and customs and... - all of this can feel cumbersome and disorienting, but I'm glad for it. With the long travel and accompanying jet lag, I remember that I have just lived in a space a world away from my every day life, and that to incorporate everything I saw and felt and desired will take time and intention. It is unpacking and putting all my things back in their places, it is telling my body to stay awake when I'd rather be sleeping, it is allowing myself a day off before returning to work. It is sharing photos of my trip and digging up words to accompany them. It is letting the stories start to take shape so that they can be shared. And it is knowing that what has just taken place these last two weeks isn't only in the past, it is also something I now carry with me, a precious souvenir that beckons the people I laughed and cried and prayed and walked with to be with me always.

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