This evening, as Princely and I walked home from work, Kili looked spectacular. She was bright and clear – there were almost no clouds in the sky to obscure her shapely figure. The setting sun reflected off the snow, giving the uppermost third of her body a golden tint. It made for a stunning walk home.
Predicting a cloudless night after a cloudless evening, I recently stepped out to experience one of the most breath taking starry views I have ever seen - and that is coming from a near nightly stargazer. There were thousands of them, some of them glowing white and others pinkish and orange and yellow. The constellations were unfamiliar to me. At home my eyes are immediately drawn to the dippers, Orion’s Belt, and Cassiopeia. Here, my eyes wander and my mind creates its own shapes with the stars. Tonight I found a question mark. The moon was a thin and luminous crescent sitting low in the sky so that its brightness, rather than detracting from starlight, formed unique ornament that attracts your eye before your vision levels to the ground.
As I settled into a chair in the garden, the phrase “we are still under the same night sky” popped into my head. Almost instantly, I burst out crying. But we are not under the same night sky, I realized. Tanzania is in the southern hemisphere; therefore most of the stars that I am viewing right now are stars that my family never sees. I know the phrase isn’t meant to be interpreted in such a literal way (this almost made me laugh as I cried) but the realization truly broke me for the moment.
I have had unique experiences and observations in my time here that I would not trade for anything. However there are things that are different, that are hard.
I miss my family. I haven’t given anybody a true hug, in approximately 11 days and 19 hours. That’s something you don’t expect to think about when traveling, but I promise, you will.
I haven’t spoken to a westerner since this past Sunday. That is tough too. I am speaking the second or third language of all the people around me, and as quickly as I am trying to learn Swahili, the process is slow. Therefore I find myself on a level of politeness with everyone so far rather than true friendship. That too will evolve, but once again it was something I forgot to anticipate.
My bosses are my foster parents for the year. This creates a challenging dynamic sometimes because I am suddenly their child and co-worker. They are incredibly hospitable, and every day I love my stay with them more and more, but the previously mentioned dynamic is going to take a little while to feel out.
I am sharing this because from my opinion, the challenges I face provide learning experiences just as valuable as those of the good times, of which there have been so so many.