It's a good thing I have waited well over a week since our return to write this entry. If I had written within a few days of returning it would have gone something like this: "Booooo, I'm so miserable. I should have tried harder to lose my passport so I could have stayed. I want to go back NOW. The end."
Thankfully things have gotten better since that first week back. The first few days were consumed with sleeping, looking through pictures for hours on end, talking to classmates and even some tears. Some of this was expected. I knew it would be an adjustment to go back to my life in Minnesota, but I certainly did NOT expect to be so emotional. The weirdest part was I couldn't really put my finger on what it was. Was it the abrupt change in weather? Was it going from being surrounded by more than 25 people and there always being noise to the stillness of being alone in my apartment? Perhaps it was the realization that all those weeks of planning and anticipation were now over? I think it was all of the above AND then some.
On our last day of class Sarah from LAC talked about re-entry. By this point many of us were already concerned about what it would be like to go back to Minnesota. She explained that there are 4 phases - ranging from the initial excitement of going home to the re-adaptation phase after we had been home for sometime. I can't say I experienced much of the 'initial excitement' phase. That is not to say that I didn't miss family and friends back home and wasn't excited to seem the, because I was. However, during the trip I was fully aware of how extraordinarily lucky I was to even to get to participate in this program I knew that once I returned it would be back to 'real life' again. It was such an amazing break from my daily routine I didn't want it to end. Obviously it HAS come to an end and now the question is "What do I do next?" Not only does this include when will I get to travel overseas again (perhaps to South Africa), but more importantly, what can I do to 'give back' to the place that embraced me with open arms for 3 weeks? I've already got some ideas......
PS - The postcard I sent myself from the Cape Town airport the morning we left arrived yesterday! I must say I am quite impressed with the mail service. Only 10 days! I thought I'd be lucky if I saw it before 2013.