So here I am, 7 months after my last blog post, 10 weeks after returning to the USA. I spent 27 months in Tanzania, without coming home even once, and then returned to a tangibly different America: a black president, an economic crisis, and ubiquitous internet phones. The first few weeks were the roughest, and it showed. I nearly cried at the mall on Black Friday; I ooh-ed and ahh-ed at unexciting things like squirrels and delivery pizza. A few weeks ago, I failed to understand the necessity of feeding a parking meter, and just yesterday, after ten weeks in America, I tried to flag a taxi cab by vaulting my arm downward in the Tanzanian style. I'm slowly readjusting, though, and I expect that within another six months, I will have encountered and conquered nearly all of the idiosyncratically American situations that have thus far baffled me and made me look like a foreign fool in my own country. There. I've set my goal: In six months time, I will be completely re-Americanized.
I will miss Tanzania; I already do. I miss waking up to children shouting in Swahili outside my window. I miss the solitude, I miss the simplicity, and most of all, I miss my students. After getting to know them so well over two years, being their closest adult friend and advisor, I'll keep in touch with very few of them. They will continue to mature. Many of them will continue to study; some might even make it to university or find a way to study abroad. The brief time I spent with them is now a memory that will only become more distant. I just hope it remains a good one.
So this is just a closing post to say thank you. If you are reading this, if you have read any of the blogs I've posted in the past two and a half years, thank you. Thank you for supporting me, thank you for being interested in my work and the work of people who care about people. And thank you for being patient. I hope that, regardless of my blogging inconsistencies, I've taught you something about Tanzania; I hope that you've learned something about intercultural interactions, development work, or even something about people - generally or specifically - by reading these stories.
Asante sana. Nawatakia kazi njema, na maisha mema.
Thank you. I wish you all the best.