Monday, September 7, 2009

Transition and Growth (my last post)

It has been six days since I returned from Africa but it seems longer because my old life is now foreign to me. I wonder if they have a support group to help people re-enter after spending time in the Third World; if not, maybe I should start one.

I have had long waits in voice mail hell trying to reconnect all my services, shopped to refill the fridge & pantry, gone through endless piles of mail, and fought jet lag for the first few days. I also had time to walk and ride my bike around Capitola and saw it from a fresh perspective…I live in a beautiful and magical place. I was able to visit the monastery to sort out new feelings brought about by the African experiences.

I have more questions than answers right now but I am committed to integrating the “New” with the “Old” (not chronologically) Susan. I realize I need a new framework to analyze my life of abundance and work. Developing this will be the most profound and important part of the journey for me and the most personal.

I want to thank all of you for your support over the past four months and look forward to showing off the” New” Susan in the months to come.

Tuesday, September 1, 2009


I am home (weary and tired but safe after over 48 hours of travelling) and the next few posts will be from me. The transition from Rwanda to home was made much easier by being with Bets and Luanne on one of our “Trips of a Lifetime”.

David and Gracie met me at the airport and I got goose bumps when Gracie ran up to me as I came out of Customs. I knew I had been gone a long time when I saw her carrying a purse and a magazine with Miley Cyrus on the cover; when I left, she was still into everything “Princess”.

We drove down the Coast Highway so I could see and smell the ocean. When I got home, there was a welcome home sign from my friend Jeff who took care of everything while I was away including paying my bills. He left a bankers box of mail sorted into different categories and only the last two months of magazines (an overwhelming pile).

Some of my superficial observations in no particular order include:

• Seeing family helped ground me because I am still disoriented with a leg in each continent
• The beauty of the CA coast still takes my breath away
• Re-stocking my pantry and fridge at Trader Joe’s, the local produce stand, and Nob Hill was a far cry from Nakumat and “the market”
• My teeth feel clean for the first time in two months because I could buy and use a water pik (both of ones I took with me blew out and I could not find one anywhere in Rwanda)
• Using my credit card made the need for a budget obsolete (not a good thing)
• Cold filtered water from the fridge was a delight
• Not having extension cords everywhere and having to plug and unplug things as I use them is much more convenient but I use more electricity
• Running water every time I turn on a faucet is a luxury
• Not having to ask a friend to make a call so I could be understood saves time and energy
• While unpacking the four bags, I realized how much “stuff” I bought because as I bought presents, I packed them…I have many more presents for people than I thought I did
• How quiet it is when you do not have a roommate or “domestics” around all the time
• My allergies are worse at home than they were in Africa
• The first time I drove the Prius I had trouble remembering how to operate it and my hand instinctively went for a gear shift and foot for clutch pedal that were not there
• Traffic was a breeze due to lights and four-way stops but it was not as much fun driving without the rotaries and having all the craziness of the motos and aggressive drivers

I have started re-reading my journal and have many issues to process. Before I left for Rwanda, I scheduled three days at the Monastery in Big Sur to help discern the “still voice” within me and guide me to make the changes I need to make to incorporate this life-changing experience into my life. With the Wild Fires in Monterey and parts of Highway One closed, I may not have the opportunity.

I am glad to be home and eagerly await how the sabbatical will manifest outward changes because the inner changes are immense.