I have just over a month until I leave for Guinea to serve in the Galley. I'm so excited to see friends and my Mercy Ships family again! The turnover on the ship is extremely high but there will still be a few familiar faces. The best part about returning is that I know more of what to expect, where things are located on the ship, and what my job is. There will be a few people in the Galley I still know, my favorite Canadian will be just down the hall, and hundreds of new people to meet!
Its been great to be home. It can be a struggle from time to time. The hardest part about coming back is that while I've changed, everyone back home has continued on same as before. That comfy little niche, with all of its problems, isn't as comfy anymore. I'm still me, but a different me. The hardest part is knowing how to blend the new you and the you that others expect to meet again. Realizing that cross-culture jokes won't have quite the same vibe, recognizing the blank look on other's faces when you reply in another language, figuring out when you should stop talking about your trip because the other person is starting to zone out, and laughing at yourself when you accidentally call out for a friend...and realize they are literally on the other side of the globe. I feel like I've matured, I can handle responsibility, take charge if needed, take the blame if necessary, and my sarcasm is getting less prevalent (well, depends on the people I'm with). My cooking and baking skills have improved, and I'm realizing that I'm no longer that shy, awkward, homeschooled wallflower in the corner. :)
Traveling is always an adventure, especially in my family. Growing up with my parents and learning to expect the completely unexpected was amazing training for international travel and Africa. Things may not go as planned, flights can be canceled, signs may be in a different (undecipherable) language, travel companions are either helpful or nonexistent, bags hopefully arrive at your destination, and you're hoping you have a ride when you finally reach your destination. I did a bit of traveling in Europe before returning home and lugging my heavy suitcases full of Africa memories was interesting and probably very amusing to watch. Knowing what to pack and where to stuff it is a skill only gained by doing the wrong way.