Coming Home

It has been about three weeks since we returned to the USA.  I had heard that readjusting to the USA can be difficult but we are doing just fine.  Here are 10 observations on returning to the states…

  1. Driving is not a problem.  Even though I had only driven once in two years (and that was on the wrong side of the road), getting behind the wheel felt normal.  We purchased a new car and have been enjoying getting around Atlanta in our 2013 Hyundai Azera.
  2. Most people don’t seem to be very interested in our Peace Corps Service.  We had been told by other Volunteers who had gone back home on vacation to expect this, and it is true.  We get together with people we have not seen in two years and are bursting to tell about the life-changing experiences we just went through.  We can’t wait for them to say, “Tell me all about it”, but they don’t even ask the question.  I find myself chatting about local events and sports that I am not current on and don’t particularly care about.  Some people are genuinely interested and proud of what we did, but we have noticed that most are not curious or interested.
  3. The memories of Africa are already receding.  Tish and I talked about this and it seems to be true for both of us.  It is weird.  Even though we lived in Mochudi for two years and it has only been three weeks since our return it feels like it was all a dream.  Almost like it never happened.
  4. I find that I retain some of the attitudes I gained during the two years spent in Africa.  Example:  I am not in a hurry like everyone else in the US.  I tend to drive the speed limit (to the irritation of all the others on the road), and don’t have to worry about getting a ticket.
  5. Sometimes we compare life here with what we had in Botswana and are amazed.  I remember when Malebogo, a student from Stepping Stones, was visiting Tish in our house in Mochudi.  She looked in our little refrigerator with amazement and said, “Lesago, you have too much food!”  I was reminded of this when we stepped into my sister’s walk-in pantry which is huge and packed floor to ceiling with all manner of food.  We wonder what Malebogo would make of it.
  6. No one walks here.  We look around for pedestrians and there aren’t any.  All we see are really nice cars usually carrying one person.  That is a big difference from the landscape of Mochudi where most people walked everywhere and we passed many friendly people on our way.
  7. People are a lot older here.  I believe the census showed that over 50% of Botswana’s population was under 21 and we got used to seeing many young people.  Here in the states we see a lot of old people.  And fat people.
  8. I haven’t seen or heard a chicken, goat, donkey, cow, the radio of a neighbor or a noisy church service since we left Botswana.
  9. I haven’t seen anyone urinating in public since we left Botswana.  I can’t say I miss that.
  10. We were ready to come home, but we miss our little home in Mochudi and our simpler life there.
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4 Responses to Coming Home

  1. Leonie Hardie says:

    Glad you are home and I look forward to hearing about your experiences.

  2. Jim Singleton says:

    Hi Dear Mobleys! I’m reading your comments on coming home with a tear in my eye. Yes, it’s so true… they don’t ask and will probably move the conversation on to something else rather than hear about the lovely people you love in Botswana! Yet, it will happen! Someone sincerely will ask you someday soon, “What caused you to go to Botswana?” and you will find yourself again transformed into the couple that joined the Peace corps and went to Botswana. Tswana will come rolling out of your mouth and your body language will be transformed as you retell to that person the wonderful story about the people of Mochudi!

  3. Tom Donovan says:

    Stephanie and I have talked much about your post on returning to the US. It makes us want to savor our time here in Botswana even more.
    We Peace Corps volunteers are obsessed with leaving a legacy. You have. Today I booked Casa Algodoal in Tofo, Mozambique, for a group of 5 PCVs for a holiday in July. It is the place that Marion recommended: you Mobleys stayed there several months ago on holiday. I mentioned the Mobleys in my first email to the owner, and she said “of course, I remember the Mobleys”. She subsequently approved us to book the place, which tells me that you made a good impression. Peace Corps Goal 2 in action.

  4. Jim Robertson says:

    I wanted to thank you for your web blog effort. It has proven to be a valuable resource in preparation for leaving for our own PC Botswana tour in August 2013. My wife and I are approximately the same age as you and Tish so your perspective has been most helpful. In fact, after viewing your packing list a number of times over the last few months, I took the liberty of copying it this morning.

    I’ve heard many times from RPCVs that your homecoming experience is quite common with regard to others lack of interest. If you were with us at our kitchen table on this Sunday morning, we wouldn’t give you a minute’s peace.

    Thanks and welcome home,
    Jim Robertson & Lee Smith

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