Before departing for any study abroad trip with A&M, they make you go through a slideshow talking about the cultural shock you will be experiencing. One of the main things that they stress is that while in country, you will experience varying levels of excitement and homesickness. When first arriving, you are supposed to be super happy and enthusiastic to be there. You’re supposed to have a sense of euphoria, and everything will seem great. Then, after you’ve adjusted, you’re supposed to move to the next phase, which is homesickness. Nothing is as fun and all you can think about is going back home, what your friends and family are doing, and how much longer you have to be away. Then you mellow out; you find your balance. You aren’t homesick, and you appreciate where you are better than before.
This seemed to me to be very helpful. I felt prepared for the emotions that I would probably be experiencing while spending time here in Namibia, and I didn’t think about it again.
Now, as I’ve been here in Namibia for about three weeks now, I have come to realize that we are experiencing a different feeling, one that wasn’t discussed or explained to us. I know I’m not alone whenever I say that this is an absolutely gorgeous and breathtaking country. Everything that we’ve done up to this point has been a once in a lifetime experience and I’m so happy to be here with all of these amazing and intelligent people. However, I desperately wish that my friends and family were here with me.
This is a strange feeling, and one that no one could’ve prepared us for. I have fallen desperately in love with this country. It has a majestic, untouched beauty that cannot be compared. But at the same time, I desperately wish that I could see my mom’s reaction to the sunset, or hear what my dad thinks of their commercial farming practices. These contradicting feelings make my experiences here a bit confusing. My excitement is mixed with a tinge of sadness.
I have ultimately decided that the solution is to just come back with my loved ones.
We have the chance right now to do some pretty incredible things. We’ve toured farms, talked to locals, climbed sand dunes, and explored canyons. I’ve had a lion want me for dinner, and Tana has had a caracal choose her as its friend. We’re making memories that will never be replaced. The girls that are here are amazing women, and I love them to death. Conlee is the sweetest guy that there could be. I’m so happy to share this with them, but I wish that my best friend could see the things I’m seeing, and that my neighbors could be smiling along with me.
Whenever I get back home, I just pray that I can do this amazing place justice, and that through my photos and stories, my family and friends can get the smallest understanding of how wonderful it is.