Lately my mind has been flooded with thoughts, images, smells, sounds and memories from Malawi.

My process of getting back into life here in the States has been a bit of a roller coaster. I’ve had spells of coasting low and forgetting that it was only a few months ago that my internet took days to process a page and I was washing all my dishes by hand… and then there are days like today that I am reminded at every turn of a person, a walk, a taste.

I love this time of year. The anticipation of the weather getting chilly, little by little (pong’ono pong’ono). I get real giddy when I leave work and the day is beginning to shut its windows to the sun and the breeze takes its place. The perfect time of year to just roll down the windows, slow the car down about 15 mph, as to not create a hurricane within my vehicle, and crank up some music. My music of choice as of late has been none other than some amazing Chichewa tunes. If there is anything that can bring me back to my time in Malawi, it would be just that… driving with the windows down blaring Chichewa music.

This afternoon was also pretty amazing. The day was great. Even better, it ended with me in a park with some friends and a invigorating game of bao and a little Chichewa lesson for a friend. Now, not only does Sara know how to challenge me at this game, but Aaron is not so bad himself. [If anyone else wants to learn how to play… just act remotely interested in it, and I will probably yelp and be your best friend!]

All this to say that, yeah… there is still an enormous part of my soul that is stretching itself over a few thousand miles of water. I’m not over it yet. I don’t ever want to be there.

When I close my eyes and think about eating some fried chambo and nsima (my favorite fish)… my mouth waters and my soul aches.

When I close my eyes and land myself in my old backyard playing barefoot soccer with my kiddos and eating guava as one of my little friends climbs the tree to pick me a few, I feel the seeds in my teeth and my soul aches.

When I close my eyes and picture myself driving down my favorite road in the country… the one that winds its way down the mountains in which my town was nestled to the forever open plains the wait below, I feel the truck gears grinding in 1st and 2nd and my soul aches.

When I close my eyes and walk through my front door, I am reminded that it doesn’t close easily, but it didn’t matter because it always stayed open anyway… I think about the people that walked freely in and out of that opening and my soul aches.

The list could go on and on and on. Day in day out, things like this just dart through my head. As my Chichewa becomes rustier and rustier and starts getting intertwined with hints of Spanish here and there, I am reminded that I am now in a different place. A place with its own challenges. A place with things that mean just as much to me. However, it doesn’t change the fact that the longing in my heart is to snatch a plane ticket heading east and step off that plane at Chileka Airport and breathe in some Malawian air.