At home I relish the days when I have nothing on the calendar. When my days are open and I can take it easy or catch up on what I’m behind with. I’ll have a leisurely morning, run some errands, grab lunch with a friend, catch up on TV, read for a while, cook or bake for fun. All the while, knowing I have a job to get back to and a schedule to keep me on track, even after a day of rest.
So far, my time in my host community has been unstructured. I have yet to start work at my placement so for the past month, I’ve been trying my best to create a routine to keep myself sane. To be honest, I’m not doing a great job at it. I had no idea that I am ingrained with the need to have something to do at all times. I need a schedule, a plan, a list of things to do.
I’ve been trying to wedge myself into household chores; sweeping, washing clothes, washing dishes. I’ve been reading A LOT. I’m already finished with five books and this reading train ain’t slowing down any time soon. I’ve been writing in my journal–ideas for blogs, worries, observations, funny moments. I’ve been studying Kinyarwanda using an awesome and daunting text book from my supervisor Janelle. I’ve been drawing. I’m not an artist by any stretch of the imagination, but I have colored pencils and some paper and I play some good tunes. After an hour or so, I feel like I accomplished something, even if its a mediocre picture of the hills or the Lebron James jersey I drew for my host brother, Joshua’s, birthday. I’ve been going for walks. I’ve been tagging along with Pastor and Mama Haleluya on home visits or errands. I’ve been playing cards and checkers.
But for the most part, I just sit and talk. It can get uncomfortable when I run out of questions to ask or stories to tell. Sometimes we sit in total silence because I can’t think of anything else to say in Kinyarwanda and no one knows English. So a lot of the times, we just sit.
When I don’t have anything to do, my mind wanders and I start thinking. Its often the time start to feel homesick and sad and realize how alone I feel. I wonder what is going on at home. I wonder what will change by the time I get back. I wonder if I’ll ever shake the feeling of homesickness. I wonder if I’ll feel more at home here. I wonder why I am here at all. I wonder if I am wasting my time. I wonder if this is what I am supposed to be doing–sitting and wondering.
So with all that, I keep going. I try to remember that each day offers something different and new, even if its not as big or exciting or amazing as I expected it to be every moment of everyday. I am learning. We find things (a lot of things) to laugh about. I am wondering and reflecting. I am taking the time to be here and just be.