At last, here we are; Erica and I are in Maputo, on our way up and out. Our National Science Fair was a success, my beach vacation with my brother and sister-in-law was delightful, and my last trimester disappeared in a haze of grades and goodbyes. Everything is unraveling and wrapping up, and it’s all a bit overwhelming. As it should be—I am leaving behind two years of teaching, bucket baths, latrines, Portuguese, malaria prophylaxis, unbearable heat, and unforgettable events, taking with me my memories, my souvenirs, my remembrances, my extensive capulana collection, and my… favorite clothing. (After all, I wasn’t planning on coming all the way to Mozambique and looking like a die-hard hiker/camper/REI model for two years.)
To respond to the yet-unasked question that I’m certain to hear, I can’t say that this experience has necessarily changed me, but instead, it’s made certain beliefs and characteristics stronger, like the single frown line inherited from my father that has been etched deeper by the African sun. I can probably say that I’ve become more myself, as we are all wont to do with time, and yet looking at the experiences that tie together all humanity, African, American, Asian, or Australian, I imagine I’ve also become more like everyone else. Which is just fine with me; for the most part, I’d say I’m in good company.