I will be home in two and a half weeks. I will be home in seventeen days. I will be back in Ann Arbor, Michigan surrounded once again by what is familiar. My mom, dad, and sister will pick me up at the airport and wrap me in their arms time after time again. They will tell me how much they have missed me and I will, with my whole heart, express the same over joyed feelings of a comforting welcome after a long term separation. I will see my best friends. I will see my boyfriend. I will lay in the bed that has held my imprint for as long as I can remember. I will look out my window and I will sit on the reuphoIstered couch in my living room while smelling my moms delicious, mouth watering, attention grabbing cooking. I will eat said cooking and it will be spectacular. I will be back behind the wheel of my car, driving the same roads I have driven thousands of times, seeing the same familiar sights. After three and a half months, I will no longer be in Zanzibar and I ask myself, how do I feel about this?
No, I am not getting ahead of myself. This is the first legitimate time the concept of my coming home as seemed like a near sighted reality. This is not to say that I am not enjoying myself here. But It is to say that I have more than ever learned to appreciate the unconditional warmth and comfort that comes with being at home. I have grown to love Zanzibar after initial shock, I have greatly appreciated all that my time here has given me, and I have (somewhat) learned my way around the winding streets enough to give my relationship with Stone Town the status of “it’s complicated but we are working on it”. It has been three months (of course I spent some time in Pemba and Dar es Salaam) and Unguja and I are only just beginning to understand each other. I know where the cake place is (the one with the slightly lemon flavored frosting), and I just learned as of two days ago that the large, open, park by the water has free wifi.
Well as I said, the feeling of familiarity is impending. I feel as if I should want to more tightly hold on to my time here. I admittedly have begin looking up at the buildings as I walk down the street with an encroaching sense of a potential future nostalgia. However, not to minimize the spectacular experiences I had had here (thinking back on it now I smile thinking of the likely once in a lifetime adventures I have taken this semester), this semester away has made me more excited to return home that I believe I have ever been before in my life.
Going home now seems like a whole new adventure. I find myself looking forward to details I never before realized I consciously noticed. My familiar sanctuary has not for a while now been my familiar sanctuary and I have not truly been able to think of another place in that way since I left. Yes, I am comfortable here. Yes, I like talking with my home stay family. Yes, these other students I met three months ago have become wonderfully good friends. No, I have not truly felt at peace any place in Zanzibar. That is a feeling I yearn for. It is a feeling not easily found and when you lose it all you hope for is to find it once again. I have no doubt that is is waiting for me. My peace is nestled safely in all the crevices I left it tucked. I know each one of those crevices, they are imprinted into my mind and mine alone. The upcoming opportunity to untuck them, pull them out, and wrap them snugly around me is a thrilling one to think about. Soon it will come. Soon I will be at peace.
Shout out to my most wonderfully, warm, beautiful mother on her birthday today! I love you more than I could even think to express. There are no words to describe what you are to me. xxoxox
How do you feel about your home? How do you feel about being away from it?