I've wanted to do this for a long time. I think it's interesting every once in a while, to take a look back and see where you've been and who you've been. So every once in a while (meaning I have no idea how often) I'll do a "part of your history" feature where I indulgently take a look back, with kind of an "on this day in history" approach.
Four years ago today, I arrived back in the states after my eighteen month mission in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. My last day in the field was the 21st, transfers were on the 22nd, we boarded the plane on the 23rd, and arrived at home on the 24th. It was much too drawn out for me and just plain hard. An excerpt from my journal explains my feelings pretty accurately:
We had a thirteen hour flight through the middle of the night, and I think I probably slept for about 20 minutes. Finally we landed in Dulles and as I stepped onto the people mover, I felt that wet, familiar Virginia air. We reached customs and someone came over the loudspeaker and said, "Citizens of the United States of America, welcome home." Immediately I felt the tears pooling in my eyes - such a confusing emotion. Although I knew I was home and that I was American, I felt like a foreigner stepping onto familiar, but changed soil. Perhaps those changes were only within myself, but they were significant enough to make me feel as a stranger in a new world.
Thankfully much has changed and I feel pretty comfortable in my country again.