A friend asked me how I've changed in the year that I've lived in Burundi and it's something I've been thinking about all week. I've come to the conclusion that I don't think I have changed, but I've learned a lot and perhaps I'm an enhanced version of the person I was before we moved here.
I'm even more relaxed than I used to be. I've seen and heard so many weird things that it seems like nothing will shock me anymore. And there are so many things that you have no control over, you have no choice but to laugh or ignore them and continue about your business.
I've definitely learned what Americans take for granted and how wasteful even those of us who are conscious of it really are. I feel bad that we imported so much food that's in plastic bags, because so much of the garbage gets composted or burned here and we brought in all this plastic that can't be gotten rid of easily. But I'm afraid that once I'm back in the developed world I'll fall back into wasteful habits because it will be so easy.
I can't say I've had an awakenings about how cruel, or how beautiful, Africa can be, or how "ugly" Americans can be, or how true love or friendship conquer all difficulties. In one sense, I've always suspected all of those things could be the case under different circumstances. Also, life isn't that simple.