Have you ever looked into your rear-view mirror while driving and been completely astonished at what you saw there? I'm not talking about the shock of seeing an accident or what the driver behind you may or may not be doing, but of seeing a sight of breath-taking beauty. I'll never forget the day I was driving to school as the sun began to rise (because for some reason the school system thinks that having teenagers start the school day at the crack of dawn is a good thing) I looked in my rear-view mirror and instead of seeing a sea of other vehicles driven by my friends and the parents of freshmen and sophomores I saw the mountains. The sun was hitting them in a way that made them glow. At a stoplight I turned around to look, but I was disappointed. It was a beautiful sight, but for some reason wasn't as captivating as looking at it through the mirror. If you've never had this experience, I encourage you to sometime look at the scenery behind you, whether it's a field, the Rocky Mountains, or the sun setting.
I've been back in America for 3.5 months now and it's been strange, to say the least. I don't ride buses, cover my head, or struggle to communicate every day now. Life is full of convenience, and with that convenience come a certain blandness. I've yet to go a single day without thinking about how much I liked life in Africa and wanting to go back. When I look back I see the wonderful times I had, the ways I grew and the wonderful relationships I built. From this perspective, I loved it there. But somehow, a rear-view mirror can make things look better. Somewhere in my memories are the weeks and months that I cried, not knowing how I'd make it through the day. I know I came home most days exhausted, hot, sweaty, and lonely. And there were the days that all I wanted was to get away from it all. However, these memories don't seem to affect the longing that I have to go back and the way I see the time I had there as absolutely wonderful. I guess that's just what happens when looking through a rear-view mirror. The valleys aren't what stand out, it's the majestic mountains when it's all put into one small glance.
Unfortunately, it's somewhat hard to steer constantly looking in my rear-view mirror at Africa. I'm moving forward. Towards New York. New York City, to be exact. It will be quite the new adventure for this small town girl. I survived Africa, but I'm still not so sure how I'll handle New York. But I'm looking forward to it!