Now that I've been home for a few days, I'd like to reflect a little bit on what I've been feeling and experiencing, now that I'm back in the U.S. It's definitely weird being here, for obvious reasons-- mangoes are $1.49, wireless at my house is consistent and fast, I have air-conditioning-- but there's other reasons that don't seem as clear. I've been trying to write this entry several different times, but it's hard.
It's hard when, just as my book predicted, most people get bored after a little while, listening to all my stories and random facts about Senegalese culture, comparisons of Senegalese and American culture, all the things I learned about myself and other people. Even the most patient friend or family member gets tired after a while, because I have a lot to say after an entire semester and their ears can only handle so much.
It's hard because I'm so far from the culture I became comfortable with, without even realizing it-- appalled by the prices in the grocery store, unable to do anything about it because we don't bargain here and that's just how it is. I'm not the girl who they say broke down and wept in a restaurant (after all, there's no bargaining in restaurants), but I'm still at the point of exclaiming aloud when I see a horrifyingly high price in the store.
Another problem I foresee is that no one I know will have gone through an even remotely similar experience; no one I know is even interested in going to any part of Africa, ever. So there's no real outlet to share experiences, and languages-- I took 45 hours of Wolof! I thought about writing to the newspaper, since I may be the first person who studied in Africa (rather than doing missions there for various Christian sects) from Hillsdale. Still, it seems a small funnel for big ideas.
In any case, it's not a massive struggle to readjust; there are just small things to re-learn in various parts of my life, and I'm still trying to do that. I'll be continuing to write in my blog about my experience in Senegal.