To me, asking myself over 20 questions is no wonder since that flight to the US was my very first. I had no idea what it was like to travel abroad; and of course I didn’t know either what it would be like to be back to where I am from again three and half months later. You probably wonder how I felt on that very moment…at the airport in Virginia on my way back to Madagascar! Well, it’s quite hard to say.
“I had no idea what it really was like to travel abroad; and of course I didn’t know either what it would be like to be back to where I am from again three and half months later” Gaelle
Imagine you went to your dream country… You go there; you meet up with a thousand amazing people, you grow deeply attached to them; you learn a lot from them as they do from you. Your love for the country grows stronger and you’re getting to the point where you feel like saying: “I love it here. I really feel like home!” But at the same time, back home people are starting to miss you. Your loved ones are starting to bombard you with “Miss you” notes!!! You are starting to think of them badly as well…when you eat yummy food you know they’d LOVE …or when you go to places you know they’d certainly enjoy to be at. At this point you can’t help but say: “I wish they were here with me.” It’s one of these moments when you don’t know exactly how to feel. You miss people (home) but you don’t feel like leaving your dream country…YET. Please not now, not yet!
Maybe with my top 20 questions, you can identify yourself in some of the questions I asked to myself. I guess my feeling was quite ordinary, wasn’t it? I hope reading this will help those will travel abroad for the first time in some ways. Maybe this blog post will make you aware it is normal to feel this way. For those who might have had other questions in mind, feel free to share with us here. Your inputs are more than welcome! I can’t wait to identify myself in your questions as well since I know there probably are some questions I forgot to write. The 21nd+ questions are awaiting for you!
The top 20 questions I had in my mind on my way back to Madagascar…
I honestly had a million questions on top of my head when I flew back to Madagascar from the US. And since I was asking them all to myself, I was not necessarily sure what the answers were. Haha.
1/ Who will be waiting for me at the airport back home on my arrival? (Unlike the Americans who arrive on their own, Malagasy people are more likely to be picked up by their nuclear family and even by some members of their extended family while at the airport)
2/ What will I wear on the departure day as some folks back home would probably expect to see a stylish Americanized Gaëlle? (Sorry to disappoint you guys! I didn’t get tattooed on my body. Was pretty cool to see different styles in the US, though J)
3/ Will people notice I gained weight? (Couldn’t help but eat there…So many options!! Also, I know fast-food is not good for health but couldn’t help but eat. Was so yummy!!! I miss FroYo, sauce BBQ, Mac&Cheese, burgers, pizzas, buffalo wings…)
4/ Would people expect I speak like an American now that I am back from the US?
5/ Would they love the souvenirs I brought? (it took me forever to choose them)
6/ Will I have enough money to buy coffee everyday? (I am a coffee addict now lol Can’t Starbucks come to Madagascar, please please please?)
7/ Are there any places back home where I can listen to my iPod or use my smartphone while walking without fearing to be pickpocketed? (There must be safe places somewhere, right?)
8/ What will my GPS be used for in Madagascar where “taxiphones”, the colors of houses, trash cans remain the most practical ways to show the way? (Use a GPS in places like mine and you would look sooooo dumb lol)
9/ Will I have issues at all on the way back home? (I have friends whose bags got lost. Other friends’ got delayed.)
10/ Is it okay to say “I miss America” in front of my Malagasy peers back home? (I don’t feel like being hypocrite and say: “Why would I miss America? Madagascar is home. Of course Madagascar is home but I can’t lie because I surely would like to come back to America one day. Don’t worry! I will come back to Madagascar.)
11/ Will I get over the I-miss-my-US-experience quick enough? (It would be pretty hard now to watch “the White House Down” because I will be thinking of DC so much. I even remember Dupont Circle is mentioned that movie…and guess what? My hotel was a few blocks away from Dupont Circle back then. Sigh!!!)
12/ Where can I find high-speed internet connection back home? (Not only was I connected 24/7 in the US but the speed was amazingly amazing)
13/ Have I changed since then? (I learned SO MUCH. I met SO MANY interesting people. Sometimes it’s overwhelming. But I hope if I changed, my changes are positive ones…right?)
14/ Who am I gonna start my venture with in Madagascar? (I had ideas when I left Madagascar but now they have gotten way better. I want to get a venture started as soon as I am back but who shares my vision, my mission…who is willing to work with me?)
15/ Will I be skilled enough to teach what I have learned in the US? (I feel like sharing sooo bad.)
16/ Would people think I am rich now as I am back from the US?
17/ Would my Malagasy peers feel they are also African when I tell them about my amazing African fellows? (As Madagascar is an island, many people including some people in my family and friends’ circle don’t consider themselves as Africans. I always did but they didn’t. Will my stories change something at all?)
18/ What will it be like to be back in Madagascar? Have things changed? (I have only been away for less than 4 months but I wonder whether things have changed or not: roads, prices, people…What did I miss since then?)
19/ How long will it take to get over jetlag again?
20/ Would my university back home give me enough time to prepare for my thesis and presentation? (I really didn’t have time to work on my thesis AT ALL in the US. My academic institute at Rutgers University and my internship at Peace Corps kept me VERY busy.)
21/…(fill out the blank)