One of my buddies told me reentry was going to suck. First, thanks buddy (remember, sarcasm means I care). Second, while it actually does not suck (I am happy to be back to my life in the District), I will admit to having a few difficulties adjusting to life back in the U.S. Kenya did change my mindset and force me to question values I held dearly (such as my faith) as well as behaviors I rarely gave much thought (such as, throwing as much away as I do). Being away for so long made me realize relationships that I needed to reestablish, especially because I kept in touch with few people on a regular basis and it's hard to really give them an accurate depiction. Mainly though, there is a ton of guilt.
Given my ancestry and my religious tradition, guilt does not surprise me. It seems built into my bloodstream along with a side helping of stubborn. But this guilt is different. I feel the guilt of leaving someone behind, a beloved. I feel guilty for all the cultural gaffes and mistakes I made, for the relationships I could have developed but didn't. I feel guilty for not being able to do more, especially being as privileged as I am. I feel guilty for all the things I took personally when no offense was meant. I feel guilty for the opportunities I didn't take. Mainly, I just feel guilty for leaving. I felt I left so many behind.
I know that I am not completely responsible for this. I know that some of it was personal growth I needed to undergo so that I can do this again. I know that I was really busy (going to school, having an internship, plus a four hour daily commute) and I couldn't do all that I set out to do. I know I needed to give myself a break. I know that I needed to make those mistakes I had made, in order to learn and grow from them. I know that I can only own up to the things I did do wrong and move on. I know I can't save the world.
Still, I feel it. Even more than guilt, I feel sad. I miss it. I miss them. As much as I love my life in DC (and I do), I don't go through a day when I don't wish I was still there on some level. I miss my colleagues, my friends, the kids....I miss it. I feel that, while my body is in America, a piece of my heart is somewhere in Kenya. I'm not going to lie, it hurts.