My Blog

The Homecoming Dance

5.26.2010 | My Blog, Uncategorized

I was asked an interesting question last week about my trip. A lot of people ask how I’m preparing myself to go to Tanzania, physically, mentally, emotionally… but no one has ever asked how I’m preparing myself for coming home.

I have no idea. I’ve never thought about it. But now I can’t stop thinking about it.

How can you prepare to recover from what you have no idea that you’re going to experience? To say that I’m going to experience Culture Shock in Africa is a wildly fantastic understatement.  I’m already apprehensive, and I haven’t even started packing yet! I’m apprehensive, nervous, scared, bewildered, unprepared, ignorant, and terribly frightened of getting off that plane in Kigali.

I won’t be ready.

I’m also excited, hopeful, mesmerized, awed, moved, awakened, and terribly aware of getting off that plane in Vancouver. It’s going to come so fast, I just know it. I’ll be back on home soil before I get a chance to remember the taste of African soil. I have to return to my own country, and my own culture – one in which I, at times, disdain. The consumerism, the pessimism, the ignorance… it’s all too much sometimes. And after scaling the world’s tallest, free-standing equatorial mountain, and staring at the curvature of the earth at sunrise… I have to come back to stop lights, grocery stores, flush toilets and line ups.

I won’t be ready.




You know what? I think when we eventually crown you homecoming queen with that tiara, you’ll be as ready as ever. Sure, after the great feat on the mountain, you will have earn every right to mock us – little minions trapped in our daily mundane tussle with traffic lights and starbucks coffee queue – but I’ll bet my last dollar you wouldn’t now, you won’t then.

Because climbing mountains while it’s such an exhilarating experience, is also an extremely humbling one. And what she will give to you will be much bigger than anything you can ever give back to her.

Sure, go fret about it now. There’s absolutely wrong with that. We are all raised in a society in which we do not embrace the unknown. In fact losing control is something to be frowned at. But seriously, that’s what mountain climbing is all about. Losing.Control.Without.Freaking.Out.

Mountain climbing is an art because it teaches you to adapt, to be less anal, to be more patient, but above all, it also put things into perspective. Contrary to popular belief, chipping a nail is not a life and death issue.

And that’s why at the other end of the pond, I’m so excited about your upcoming trip! Because, short of sounding “zennish” and abit off the cuff, I think you will be “reborn” on this trip.

So fret if you must, but don’t overdo it. Go enjoy the unknown. It’s scary but it’s fun and very very liberating. Trust me on that. 🙂


I won’t mock you, Claudia. Well, not unless you really deserve it. Then I’ll not only mock you, but I’ll mock you and then blog about mocking you. But I would do that before I climbed a mountain. 🙂

Thank you once again for your good, kind words. I appreciate the inspiration you keep reminding me to seek out.