My fingers held tight to the memories, holding dear the wonderful memories. Pushing them back and trying to hold them in, afraid to let it all out. Because it was too raw, and the pain of an abrupt departure was too new.
For months, I held the stories in, unwilling to let them out. Letting them out meant admitting they were memories, not realities. And so I held on.
You see, I’ve lived abroad in two different places. And both times, I was abruptly sent home for medical reasons. When I lived in Mexico, within the span of a few days I went from living in Mexico while studying abroad, to walking frantically through the Houston airport, trying to figure out how to say goodbye to dear friends and find my flight home. And in South Africa, an injury led to me packing up 2.5 years of life and saying goodbyes in about two hours, then rushing back to the capital to board a plane and leave the continent that was my home.
And I didn’t want to let go of those memories. The homesickness and culture shock was overwhelming, and the only way to deal with it was to hold tight and push things down, ignoring the rich, wonderful memories.
But as time went on, I began to realize that holding on didn’t help anything. And as I found myself reliving memories, I once again found joy in the memories. The homesickness for my African life gave way to gratitude for the paths God led me down. The struggles of readjustment were eased through sharing my stories.
And instead of holding on, I began to let go. I began to relive the numerous memories from my life in Africa.
And now, throughout October, you’ll be able to read a few of them, as part of my #31days series, as I write about 31 Days of Moments in Africa.
It’s #FMFParty time, which means I’m joining up with hundreds of other writers as part of Five Minute Fridays. Check out Kate’s blog for the full (awesomeness) details of Five Minute Friday.