it's hard to determine a good place to begin.
my body is a jumbled mess of thought, exhaustion, confusion, frustration, reminiscing, happiness, and longing, among many other emotions. my head is still full of air and pressure from the many planes i lived on for 2 days, and my body aches from the fever that consumes it. while traveling, especially to third world countries, it is inevitable: you will get sick. so i'm rolling with it, embracing it, and thanking god for the bed and sheets i am currently lying upon.
it feels like i was gone much longer than i actually was, yet my time in africa came and went before i knew what happened. things look different here. i look different here. i miss it there.
nonetheless, home is always a place to find comfort and love. it is a constant, which is more than the majority of the world can say.
my journey here took longer than expected.
due to a delayed flight in johannesburg, south africa, which caused me to miss my connecting flight in dakar, senegal, i was in transit for well over 48 hours. alone. i became one with the tile floor in the senegal airport for 20+ hours, and spent a $270 "night" (4 hours) in the nicest hotel room i've ever had, all because the concierge took pity on me and upgraded me. he understood that i'd just been robbed by the taxi driver (i paid him $78 instead of the normal $4 all because i was unfamiliar with the exchange rate, desperate to get somewhere safe at 4 a.m., and stupid), and he understood why i couldn't bring myself to stay in the very dangerous, dilapidated "hotel" at the airport where i probably would've died. the locks on the doors were super sketchy, and never would've passed inspection in the states; a single, white, female like myself would be the target for everything bad and wrong. there was no such thing as air conditioning in the 100 degree rooms, and the bugs on the carpet led me to believe they didn't have "house-keeping" either.
the same concierge couldn't help but laugh when he heard my voice again at 5 a.m., this time over a phone, when i somehow locked myself in the bathroom of the nicest hotel room i've ever stayed in, after taking a much needed shower. i got on my knees and thanked God that there was actually a phone by the toilet (i know, right?) to call him, bawling, to tell him to send someone to get me the hell out. a very long 15 minutes later, a hotel manager arrived with keys, which could not open the lock either, at which point he had to kick the door in, breaking it, all to retrieve a naive, little, white girl who spoke very little french, but managed to mumble, "merci....beaucoup" (thank you...very much) through her tears.
let's just say i will never fly with Delta airlines again, because not only did they take off without me, and refuse to pay for the $270 room i had to put myself up in for 4 hours just to arrive alive in america, but they also lost my luggage somewhere in africa. oh yes, that's right.
while this is only a small portion of what occurred on my journey home, those of you who actually read this are my good friends, and are likely to hear more later, when i can actually laugh about it. yea, for those of you who don't believe God has a sense of humor....you're wrong.
i will need time to soak up everything i saw, experienced and witnessed, so please don't demand many stories at once. in time, though, i will use this blog as a journal to articulate my thoughts and memories, in hopes of giving you a glimpse of what africa did to my heart.
it's good to be home. you were missed,