I had to go to AAA to get something notarized yesterday and there, in the travel section, was a stuffed giraffe as big as me next to some Zebra patterned suitcases on top of a leopard print table cloth. It was a fun display and a reminder of where I will be going this summer even though you will absolutely never see me with a Zebra patterned suitcase.
I have travelled a lot but it has always been within my own Western culture and most of the time with the same amenities as home. This will be a brand-new experience. Leaving culture, language and how people relate to one another day to day. It won’t be so much about what I will carry in my much more conservative-looking suitcase but what I will carry in my heart. An openness to learn, patience with myself and others and trust in my Tanzanian friends that they will take good care of me when I feel lost. I will be walking in my friend Amani’s shoes when he first arrived in the US, or in Kumbuka’s when the taste of the food was so foreign to him as he tried to get used to pasta and cheese. I will probably be bewildered a time or two. No matter! Heart and suitcase will be packed and ready to go this summer.
My excitement is building and so is a bit of anxiety. But I will go.