A couple of conversations with good friends brought Africa to the forefront of my mind. In hindsight I really don’t feel like I hold romanticized ideals about the way things were. Don’t get me wrong; there are certainly things I miss about Africa, but there are also things I would pay not to go through again.
I don’t miss being the nameless white girl that can’t walk anywhere without being noticed; I enjoy feeling like I can get some alone time without being hollered at by all who pass. I don’t miss being befriended because I’m from America, getting cut in line EVERYWHERE I GO, sleeping under mosquito nets, constantly being asked for money, or having to explain myself twice over to a man. But there are, quite possibly, more things that I do miss. I miss the kids on my walk to school; laughing and speaking in broken Luganda while getting peed on by a baby and getting my sandals fixed for 25 cents (perhaps minus the pee). I miss the obvious: the weather, the food, the avocados.
But most of all I miss those I had come to call my family. I miss our “dance parties” which ended in a “well done” to Dani and laughter directed toward my attempts. I miss working in the garden until every part of my body is sore and my nose is burnt to a crisp. I miss cooking over fire and continually being told to “Be patient; it‘s not finished yet.” I miss walking home from class to hear Mama singing Christmas carols with the ladies from the church in accents I have to listen closely to understand. I miss hugs and kisses on the cheek with those I’ve just met. I miss the good conversation that comes when you talk to people you will never fully understand.
Though it is good to be back, a piece of me remains there. My new suite mate Ann Marie is from Cameroon, Africa so I still feel like a piece of last semester is here with me. And she definitely reminds me of the students at UCU. It’s funny; all the places I’ve been blur together more and more as time goes on. It was when I was in the Mexican Market on Nolensville the other day that the realization came. It seems unreal that within a matter of minutes I am speaking Spanish to buy groceries, passing by the roughest part of Nashville while waving to my friends on the streets, entering onto a beautifully kept campus, enjoying the company of my roommate, and laughing with an African. The world truly does get smaller every day.