10 days of school days left.
19 days until I leave Macha.
25 days until I leave Zambia.
31 days until I’m home.
The countdown actually began about six weeks ago, when I became acutely aware of how little time I have left here, when the days really started flying by.
Yes, I miss a lot of things from home. I miss berries and cream cheese and homemade salads with grilled chicken. I miss baked goods and shared microbrews and MacDonald’s french fries. I miss pea coats and lattes with friends and unlimited Internet. I miss the sound of trendy boots clicking on pavement and the feel of carpet squished between my toes. And – above all – I miss my family and friends from back home.
But I’d be lying if I said I’m eager to come back.
I’ll miss nshima and roasted maize and finger-length bananas. I’ll miss sunsets and shared chibwantu and being called “Madame!” I’ll miss racing my bike along bumpy dirt paths and being able to wrap two meters of fabric around my waist and call it a skirt. And though at times my task-oriented side has bumped elbows with it, I’ll miss the emphasis on being over doing, the inbuilt emphasis on relationships.
While I’m definitely eager to see my family and friends back home, I’m very much not eager to say goodbye to people here – my co-workers in MCC and at the school, my friends in the expatriate community, my fellow choir and Sunday school members, and my host family. And the goodbyes have already started.
Funny how, in my first few months here, I was rushing towards the finish line as time passed like molasses. Now, I’m digging my heels in the ground as time is dragging me forward.
But I guess that’s how all of life’s big transitions are, or at least how they’ve been for me: I’m uneasy as they approach – even if they’ve got promise of good things to come. After they’ve come, I tumble around a bit in the shockwave, feeling flustered and nomadic and alone. And then as time passes, I get comfortable and find peace and purpose.
So I know that’s what will happen again, when I come back home. I know that as my heart ached for my family and friends when I came to Zambia, it will ache for the family and friends I’ve left here when I’m back in the USA. That I’ll try to make my own nshima, and wear chitenge skirts around the house anyways, and find myself wanting to start every sentence with, “When I was in Zambia…” driving everyone around me a little nuts. That I’ll slowly realize how much and in what ways I’ve changed this last year and figure out how this “new” me will inhabit my “old” life – and find peace and purpose again.