Our South African friends have just left. The food is mostly away. The dishwasher has been running for an hour. The kids are asleep. I am sitting here missing Lesotho.
I miss our former frequent dinner guests. I miss them a lot. Clearing away the bottles I wonder how there is a good sized pour left in the red and another in the Port. I move them to coffee table determined not to let them go to waste. The scotch is a little lighter, so that is good.
For a night we could forget we were in China. I did have to apologize for mixing the Chinese roasted nuts into the salad, but we had beef and potatoes and nothing that resembled Chinese food. The conversation, accents, and tableware were not made in China.
J introduces herself to new friends as "South Africa". T identifies with Lesotho. In this life it is hard to have a national identity. Instead I find that I am looking for commonality with anyone and everyone. I really miss the people I left at the last post. I kind of ignore the black hole that was
DC language training. I have contact with a few people, but it isn't the same.
We have tried to figure out why DC was horrible. Not really DC, but going home and home is DC. It is impossible to return the same person I was when I left. I felt like the adventure was over. Family obligations restarted. Normal life and American expectations resumed. There was more pressure to conform and to forget about giraffe, power outages, failing Internet, and poverty. Failing there is bigger than failing abroad. There is less of a community feel as not everyone was sharing the same adventure. I wanted to escape immediately.
A sympathetic Foriegn Service family noted that everyone misses their first post the more than the others. I am not sure. I miss the adventure, but I really miss the people that gravitated to that small country, a small air bubble in a sea of reality. The South African wine is finished and I have I emailed our old dinner guests, but I doubt they will respond. The adventure ended and new adventure has begun- for others normal life has become normal. Or so I like to believe. There is more like two glasses of port remaining. I will save those for an escape from reality on another day.