This past week and a half of coming back to the states has been very different than the last three summers. When I came back the other summers, I was a visitor, on vacation. I didn't really jump back into the U.S. culture, but I hadn't really grasped the Nigerian culture either. I was an "in betweener". I could have the best of the U.S. fast food restaurants and rationalize it because I couldn't get that in Nigeria. I could bounce around from friends and family's homes and visit and not have to think about where my children would go to school in August. It seems that in many ways, my expat life has come to an end and the reality is that if I keep eating at McDonald's the way I have been when I have come back over the last three years for an unknown length of time.....I will probably be as big as Jabba the Hut!!!!
Things are definitely different this time around. I feel like I am noticing more because I know I am not leaving this time. I have had to find a house, and register the the kids for school. I have been trying to watch how much junk I'm eating.....but it's hard when you are relocating. I thought I'd share a few things I've learned on my re-entry:
1) Bruno Mars is not a planet
2) New Direction is not on my navigation system, but it is one of the latest heart throb boy bands
3) Nicky Minaj's song "Starship" makes me want to throw my hands up in the air and shake my bum bum
4) I can consistently drive my self around in a car by myself, and am loving the back up camera on my new car!!!!
5) My patience has been tested to new limits without having Happiness here to help me with the kids:)
6) I am not taking the clean, well maintained streets for granted here
7) I kind of miss the bumpy,flooded streets on V.I. and the okadas whizzing by
8) I am not the same person I was when I moved away three years ago
9) I see people differently now
10) I'm afraid I will become boring....I kind of miss Lagos...yep...that is a huge shocker for me, too!!!
The past few weeks have been full of happiness and confusion for me. I know I lived here three years ago, but I can't help but feel I am a little different now. Angela, a friend of mine I met in Lagos wrote to me the other day and she said she was so happy for the time she had in Lagos because "it made us all come alive again". I can't agree with her more. I don't know if I realized it when I was there, but I saw so much and did so many things I otherwise would have never done if I hadn't gone. In a way, living there did bring new life into our lives. My hope is that that "new life" will stick with our whole family so we can continue to "see" people and celebrate the differences all around us.:)