Cuddy pulled me along the brown slushy road and I navigated his chunky chain to make sure that neither of us slid on the ice or angered a passing motorist. Cars with bright yellow lights veered and we tromped past individuals unloading tucks and SUVs after the working day. I thought about them sitting in front of the TV with delivery pizza or sipping wine with a book and a blanket, that really soft one. The sun wasn’t out but there was enough light for my dog and I to make a short look around the brick and plastic siding houses. Beyond, I noticed the rolling prairie hills against the pale winter sky and I felt something I hadn’t in a really long time: normal.
My normal life with a regular paycheck that was spent on bills, groceries and the all-too-often meal via drive-thru bored me and the two years in Lesotho was a chance to be different. But, it was these everyday Americana moments that I craved the most when I was adventuring into unfamiliarity. When I had to choose between lentils or rice for dinner or walk nearly two miles to the main road leading to anywhere, I wanted to meander through a grocery store or run errands downtown. Or, simply, take the dog for a walk.
I missed the little things the most and it’s the little things I’ve thoroughly enjoyed since coming home. Today, I brewed a cup of something fancy and then pulled from a specialty roast as I talked with a new friend in a coffee shop. Running along the Missouri River bike path reminded me of miles used to escape the turbulence of youth. Now, I am drinking a beer and waiting on my parents for dinner out. To most of us, and myself three years ago, these are not significant moments, rather ones that may seem monotonous, yet I love the idea that it’s comfortable, normal.
Yes, I get that I am a grass-is-greener kind of person – and after two years of deep internal work I am not sure that will change – and there will likely be a time when I crave for the simplicity of lentils or that long walk to clear my head, but I don’t think it’s wrong for me to savor the little things that were not a part of my life the last two years. There is something enchanting about letting the small moments smother you and appreciating them for nothing more than the normalcy they give you.
As I try to maneuver who I am after Africa, I am reassured that the part of me that stopped dead blank in the awe of an incredible sunset or preferred sitting outside and watching the village go about to anything else – the part that embraced the small things – hasn’t expired. Lesotho, I can most definitely say, taught me to have that appreciation and it’s made coming home that much sweeter.