Post Gambian-Adventures

It’s been about a week since I have returned to the United States and I haven’t been able to fully return to my life as I used to. I still wake up and hope to get 50 hugs from the Starfish girls and be greeted with their smiles, but also I’m loving being able to see my family everyday. My biggest struggle is trying to understand how best I can serve in the community that I am in. I haven’t really mastered my answer to the question “how was your trip to the Gambia?” Well, it was just about the most all-encompassing trip I’ve ever had so I don’t really know if I can talk about it as if it’s small talk. I usually end with an awkward “oh. It was great! I learned a lot!” Those are true facts, but they don’t even come close to describing what my actual experience was. I can’t sum up my experience in 3 sentences. I have to sit down and have a 2-hour conversation about how the different experiences I had all came together to teach me big lesson. The biggest lesson I learned being that if you want to make a change in your life, it doesn’t come by thinking about it or wishing for it, you have to put in effort and have endless patience with yourself and with everyone else. It has been hard to verbalize my experience but as I talk about it with different family members and friends, I can tell I’m getting better at processing all that has happened and all that I have experienced over the past 6 weeks. I can’t tell if I have changed as a person or not, it doesn’t feel like I have but I don’t really remember what I used to think about or how I used to do things before the Gambia in order to compare to how I am now. That uncertainty about whether I have actually changed has decreased some of the pressure from me to have quantifiable improvements in my personality or outlook. I’m able to think about my experience as something purely enriching rather than adding value to an irreplaceable time in my life.

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