“When are you coming home?”
This is the question these days from my friends, family, and even facebook friends. I’m afraid the answer to this question is not the one that the people asking it want to hear. Living abroad is like anything—Cinnamon Toast Crunch, Beyonce’s Single Ladies video, or the perfect leather jacket— once you experience it, once it’s lodged in your mind, your heart, your senses, it might be a hard job going back to anything else.
I never got homesick at camp. I cried on the plane ride back home from England. When I found out on my 11th birthday that I did not receive an owl down my chimney and wouldn’t be moving to Hogwarts immediately, I also cried. This should have been a sign, Parents.
While traveling has always seemed to run in my blood, I would hate for anyone to mistake this love for adventure as a dis-taste for home, whether that means Callaway as my community, Nebraska as my state, or the United States as my country. Ask any of the people who know me here. Don’t you dare insult Nebraska. And if you want to hear a story about my beautiful home on the ranch and my amazing hometown, you definitely don’t need to ask me twice. I think about how lucky I am to be American every day and am proud of the personality traits I possess that characterize me as “American”.
Maybe this is why it makes it so easy to love living in the rest of the world. I know there will always be a place for me to return.
So dear friends and family, don’t sigh when I say I can’t leave the sight of the ocean from my window or the $1 plates of fish and rice on the street corners. Don’t despair when I speak of the sewage in the streets and the rickety cars driven by men without drivers’ licenses and aggressive markets filled with fresh goat carcasses, shoddy electrical appliances, and spiritual medicines made of horn and bone. The air is breezy and hope is high. Every day is an adventure in the Paris of West Africa. It wouldn’t feel right if I didn’t get back to my apartment with dirt on my feet, sand in my hair, and a story to tell.
So I won’t be coming home anytime soon, but I never said you couldn’t come visit me…