Tuesday, April 1, 2014

Reconnecting in the Motherland: A Mother and Daughter's Story

I have been asked countless times what was the best part of my mom's trip to Southern Africa. Of course, having road tripped thousands of kilometers to visit three countries has a lot of perks to it. We got to spend time at my boyfriend's family's farm; bask in Mozambican sun; snorkel at the mouth of the Indian Ocean; see lions, cheetahs, and wild dogs; get caught up in a glorious African thunderstorm; and explore the history of South Africa. We ate delicious food and drank jugs of wine. There were so many things to share and stories to tell about my mom's trip here. But, when I took the time to really think about what made her trip so special, I have to admit that it was a very simple answer: the quality time we got to spend together, reconnecting.

Despite talking over instant messenger or email almost every day, living 8,000 miles away from my mom has been one of the harder things about living abroad. We are incredibly close - even having lived together in adulthood (which is totally different, fyi) - and that type of connection is hard to facilitate over the internet. Typing fatigue is real, as are time differences and bad internet. And, honestly, sometimes you just want a great big hug from your mama! So the time we were able to spend just talking, laughing, and getting to really truly catch up was amazing beyond words. You forget sometimes, when you get overcome by your own life, how important that is. Her trip was a reminder and it made me feel whole again.

Reconnecting like that was also important because it brought me back to the core of who I am. It connected the changes in me with the beauty of my past. It brought my lives together, sewing them up, and giving me confidence in ways I cannot fully explain. The last time my mom came, it felt validating, like the whole Peace Corps experience was real and I hadn't imagined it. This time, it was that who I have become is real. That was a very powerful thing to realize.

When asked what the best part of my recent travels around Southern Africa was, I have to say "my mom". But the rest of the adventures weren't half bad either...

Cheers to grand adventures with great people!

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