The idea came to me in the shower – from whence all genius flows. “If I can get a cheap ticket home, I should just go home this week!” So, last Monday the ticket, the finances, and the vacation time came together and I was on my way home two days later, on Wednesday. For how excited I was to be heading home, there was no other way I could have kept my visit a secret, except for not even having enough time to let anybody know.
God worked things out so I got home on Friday a few hours before my family was leaving for an extended family gathering in our rural home. The event was the unveiling of my grandmother’s tombstone. You can’t even begin to imagine what it meant to me to be able to be there for that! The only other relative whose passing was nearly as difficult to mourn all alone in the States was my cousin Lee’s. He was only a year older than me. From every report I heard he bore his painful illness with such bravery as to put to shame the toughest of us.
Besides the resolution that mourning dearly departed with loved ones who understand brought, it was a blessing beyond anything I’d asked to spend my first weekend in Zimbabwe with a large cross-section of my large extended family. I couldn’t have hoped to see so many of them in such a short visit to the country, but God had plans!
So many people thought my younger sister was the one visiting from the States and I was the homebody 😀 That made me so happy especially contrasted with my fear of not fitting in. On the contrary, it would seem that my Ndau is somewhat unadulterated, my Ndebele as average as it always was (except with an improved accent, if I should say so myself). The only problem is when I speak English.
When speaking English in America, I have a foreign accent and now when I come home, I have a foreign accent as well. In America, I will never have an American accent because I’m not from there. My accent changed while I was in the States though, because when I spoke English as I learnt it back home, people could not understand me. So I had to roll my rrrrrs a bit more… and swallow words a bit more…. so the waitress could understand that all I wanted was a glass of “wadr”.
Familiar smells. Familiar tones. Familiar attitudes. Hospitality unparalleled. The little things about Zimbabwe I didn’t even know I missed. Then looking at the countryside on the drive from our rural home in the Chipinge area brought on a new wave of nostalgia. This is the Zimbabwe no-one shows in documentaries…the Zimbabwe you can only experience in person…the Zimbabwe I’d forgotten I missed so terribly.
I came here to surprise my family with a visit. They were surprised! But I wasn’t counting on the wonderful surprises that I too have experienced. Seeing my homeland for the first time in 7yrs will hopefully not only have brought tears to my eyes, but will bring fresh revelations as well.
It’s so good to be home!