This morning, I woke up early, long before my alarm would go off, my body and mind stuck in the wrong time zone.
I laid there in my bed, eyes and ears open. I expected to hear a chorus of birds chirping, a man sweeping on the cement outside my hut, and the secondary school students in the boys dormitory singing and laughing to start their morning.
Instead, I listened to a box fan whirring, my husband snoring, and a car door slamming in the apartment complex parking lot.
I arrived home from Malawi last night.
The thing about culture shock is this: I don’t feel shocked. No bombs going off, no monsters popping out from under beds, no sobbing in front of my closet or in grocery store aisles. I didn’t feel the least bit guilty when I turned on my hair dryer this morning.
But you know that feeling, when you enter a room and suddenly have no idea why you walked there in the first place?
I feel disoriented, standing around, turning in circles, looking for clues about what I might have been up to just twelve days ago. It’s as if I have stepped off a treadmill, and the sensation under my feet does not match the ground I’m standing on.