First to a family reunion--all of us gathered together in Colorado but a beloved cousin--then a return visit to Kisasa Primary School, 10 years after my first trip to Tanzania.
In both cases, I was not well prepared for the actual experience.
There was a curmudgeonly family member I hadn't seen in awhile and wasn't sure how to approach.
The situation in Tanz was not quite what I had imagined either--instead of a group build, it was two or three of us at most. Instead of enjoying a relaxing time catching up with old friends, I felt alone, misunderstood and sometimes attacked, for my American-ness, my lack of religion, for being me.
It was a time to dig deep, to remember why I travel, to suffer cold water showers and endless digs with good humor and sometimes calm replies.
In the end, I renewed some relationships, and made some terrific new friends.
I traveled twenty thousand miles, mostly by myself, including a 9 hour bus ride (watching ripped movies and enjoying a Stoney Tangawizi ginger beer) and arriving after dark, which meant a confusing mission at Ubongo Bus Station to find a cab to take me to my sort-of-obscure hotel.
And the return journey on Emirates.
I feel alive, I feel challenged, I feel ready for new decisions.