being back is strange. i'm back in the city where i've lived most of my life, and many things still look exactly how i left them, yet it's a place i don't know.
for months i had looked forward to coming home, but then about a month before leaving ghana, i realized that "coming home" also meant leaving home. don't get me wrong: it's great to be back and see the people i love and missed. but ghana is home to me now too, and it's now the place that is so familiar to me.
people talk about reverse culture shock, and i thought i had experienced it in the past when i had traveled abroad a few times. but after living in another culture for two years--living and loving in another culture--returning to your own is truly a shock.
going to the store is overwhelming: a whole aisle of deodorant? why?
i have a car available to me, but i haven't driven. i'm nervous that i have forgotten how.
my journey back was three flights. when i arrived at my first layover (brussels) and went to the check-in desk, i stood in line trying to figure out with the time change what time of day it actually was so i would know how to greet the lady. i paused, getting ready to say "good morning", and she just said hi. hi? what is hi? what happened to greeting? my flights back were my first time in two years that i had real butter, potato chips, and ice in my drinks. but in each of the three meals served on the planes, they served laughing cow cheese, the only kind of cheese available to me for the past two years. you can't just give me some cheddar?
being home is just a mixture of so many different feelings. i feel sad to think about ghana and the people and places i left behind, but i feel relieved to be back in a cooler and more luxurious environment. i feel really stressed to think about the big changes coming and the burden of finding a job and a home. but eating dairy again (lots and lots of dairy) is such a happy feeling.
my mom and i went to an international grocery store today. i was looking for ghanaian yams to make fufu. i found the yams, and i also found a whole list of obscure ghanaian foods that i thought i would never see in america. i must have looked ridiculous in my enthusiasm in that grocery aisle.
so, yes, i'm back. it's weird. it will be a process of adjustment. i'll probably still get a little wide-eyed at the grocery store for a while, and i expect i'll need to carry a sweater with me most places, but soon i'll (re)learn how to drive and begin my new life.