Something weird has been happening lately.

One person called it gearing up. Another coined it exit mode.

Personally, it feels like I am spending a bit more money as I stock up on things I will need to go back to Tanzania. Hoarding. Collecting. Looking at the calendar. Skyping more…and thinking. A lot. About the future.

Finding cotton dresses and skirts on clearance, and taking stock of others I have been given. Plotting ways I can put linings in that are not going to make me sweat.

Gathering some small Christmas decorations I am considering taking back with me, and looking for little things that will make me think of Christmas. Home. Winter…when the weather is anything but on the African continent.

Making wish lists and realizing that any currently-dying electronics should probably be replaced before heading back overseas.

Requesting pictures from people so I can bring them back with me.

Looking at my schedule and making sure that I can fit in really good times with everyone I care about before the next two months fly by.

Wondering how I am even going to go back in two months, since I am not yet at full monthly support.

Praying—a lot!

Returning all the books I have borrowed.

Asking about meds—what, exactly, is available in Tanzania? My doctors switched my inhalers here, so I am back to square one on this one.

Thinking about all the things I was going to do on furlough. Get my computer screen replaced. Make a printed “book” of my blog so if the Internet ever decides to forget it hosted me, I have a copy. See the Art Institute of Chicago. Visit PBU (and the people I know there) so that I have actually seen where it is I am getting a master’s degree. Skydive (hmmm—maybe that one is more on my bucket list than on the furlough to-do list…although I would NEVER attempt something like this in the Land of Tanz, even if it WAS an option).

Thinking about places and people and foods and things I want to visit, see, eat, and enjoy at least one more time before I am out of the US again for a while.

Realizing that if I want to leave America, I may need to get some updated vaccines—which I should probably do soon.

Starting to grieve and say “goodbye” in my heart to the people I have only just started getting to know at church… in my neighborhood… in my community… in my life….

Yet feeling like I should not be doing any of this until I have actually already been “cleared” to go.

It is funny—I never saw this coming. It is like my body is starting to get the hang of this changing-cultures-climates-and-continents thing and is gearing up for the next phase of transition.

Some things I know. I have been in Tanzania two years, and I am oh-so-thankful for this experience. There are still hoards of other things I just do not know yet, like the specific place where I will be living. What is available in Musoma? How easy it is to do such-and-such? What will language school really be like? Or any number of hundreds of other questions meandering through, loitering in, and camping out in my brain these days.

Quite honestly, I am glad—and yet, I am sad—oh, so sad. I am sad that I did not get to spend extended periods of time with certain people, while I am thankful for the times I have had. I am excited for the future—teaching MKs in Musoma, and the position I get to fill. I am excited to have this completely random year of firsts-on-furlough completed so I can move on to the next phase.

And yet, I am terrified, and unsure: of learning a language, of figuring out how to get stuff from Kalamazoo to Musoma, or even of knowing what to bring and what to just leave behind. I am feeling a million other emotions, and thoughts, and I am not quite sure what to do with them all, yet.


© 2012 Women of the Harvest.

Questions to Consider: What’s on your big, fat to-do list? Have you found anything that makes the transitional process of going to the field easier…please share your tips here!