Tuesday, November 5, 2013

Haunted Streets

I rarely ran into my past in Ghana. Even Facebook, with its endless possibilities, was avoidable; containable. I could focus. I could assess and improve; I could quantify. And I could do it all with the clarity of a safe distance, which I now understand was a unique opportunity.

I've been home for just over one week and there are so many stories to catch up on, so many faces to see (both the anticipated and the unexpected). Some of them belong to distant paths, ancient things; others walk a faint trail, their paths just emerging. It turns out to be a very large pile to sift through, to organize in my mind, to find a place for in my life - a life I'm only beginning to figure out again.

This is obviously a work in progress, the attempted management of a readjustment they warned me about. Except it's not exactly the kind of culture shock I thought it would be; turns out I can totally handle incredibly high-tech bathrooms, grocery stores (to a degree), and the ability to understand every conversation around me without needing to listen in like a lonely ex-pat creeper. What seems to be the struggle now is re-fitting all of the pieces. Actually, just plain fitting in.

And I guess it sounds silly to admit that my biggest problem is finding room for all of the people interested in catching up, in showing appreciation for the things I've done, even if briefly. I guess it's just the fact that things simultaneously seem to have changed completely and not at all, that in the same week I can go without recognizing a single face to recognizing entirely too many to process. It's apparently no easy feat to step out of your life for three years and walk back in, having had so many unbelievably important, but completely separate experiences. It's a little like waking from a dream.

These are my haunted streets. All ghosts welcome.