So what do we do now?

I got home Tuesday night. Travel took a little more than 24 hours, from where I was staying in Dar to home.

It feels like it did when I was home for Christmas, as though Tanzania never really happened. This is just a continuation of the summer before I left, two years later.

Except: when I walk around outside, I see ghost images of Tanzania, like those plastic overlays in informative children’s books that show you the skeletal structure or the muscular system of the human body. Phantoms that remind me I lived somewhere else, for a while. When I cross a street, I remind myself under my breath to look left, not right. I still do a mental double-take when I drink a glass of tap water. A passenger on the highway today, I found myself overwhelmed by the presence of so many signs, the visible possibilities, the places I could go. On a walk yesterday, I stood transfixed by an empty playground, contemplating the sheer amount of money that went into the plastic-and-metal structure.

Is this what they mean when they talk about culture shock? Probably. When it fades it feels like everything I learned, everything I gained, everything I became in Tanzania may fade with it.

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