Monday, January 5, 2015

Life After the Return

Rest & Reflection

It’s been the better portion of a year since I left Ethiopia in April, 2014.  Since returning to Seattle I have finished my degree program and have begun looking for career paths that might provide some of the excitement and the opportunity to travel that my Peace Corps service provided. 

Back home, I’ve found myself asking, “Has it always been this dark in the winters?” “Is it always this cold?” “Have people always been so shy of socializing with strangers? Neighbors, even?” “People work a lot of hours here! Right?”  I’ve also starting wondering about the rest of the world, how much more diverse humans seem and how much more empathy I have for people in countries I’ve never visited. 

One of the great things about traveling, being months or years away form one’s own country, is that returning home provides an ability to look at one’s own culture more objectively.  People and events become more interesting and full of choices previously unknown.  For instance, after being immersed in a foreign environment the choices for food and drink, how people socialize, the degree that infrastructure provides dependable transportation and communication, the topography, and the climate (even the way the sun moves across the sky) become a topic of enthused discussion.

Behind foreignness, newness or difference, there is something for everyone to connect with, an understanding that allows contact with an underlying structure of things that can put even one’s self into context.  It is amazing to experience and it’s one of the many reasons why I enjoy traveling - the details step out of the mundane and demand consideration; the different begins to mean “familiar, with time.”  

This blog was created to share some sights and experiences of life lived as an American-foreigner within Ethiopia.  With that simple goal in mind, I think I've succeeded.  Thanks for reading!