When remembering past travels, it's kind of hard to accurately remember the emotions in the very beginning of the trip, when everything feels new, strange and somewhat (or sometimes very) uncomfortable. Almost every time that I've traveled overseas, there has been an initial uneasiness and discomfort as I've had to learn my way around, learn some of the language (the greetings, if nothing else). It's definitely not my favorite part of the traveling, but the good news is that it always passes, and eventually life in whatever new location (Gaborone this time) resumes a sense of normalcy. Not the normal of being at home, but a normal for that place.
I went shopping this morning for the first time. As I stood in the small produce section of the grocery store a few blocks away, I found myself unable to decide what to buy and how much. I had a list with me, but I experiences a strange inability to make a quick and sure decision. Eventually it passed and I bought what I think will work. But it is very strange to feel uncertain of what I'm doing - even when it's something as simple as grocery shopping.
I made a few other stops and by the time I was done, I felt fairly comfortable in the shopping area. I now know where the grocery store and bank are. I know where I can buy some meat pies (today it was a steak and kidney pie - yum!). I know I can buy sweet potatoes and dried beans and peanuts from outdoor stands. I can greet some one semi confidently in Setswana, but I still need to really learn how to say "thank you."
I ventured out on my own today so it will be different when I have to take the kids along. That will be its own challenge, but the great thing about having children in tow, is that everyone loves a baby (many people have already asked if they can take Elena home with them), so that just opens up doors of conversation and brings smiles.
We'll be meeting some of the doctors and residents Dan will work with today and tomorrow we move to the house were we'll be for the rest of our time here. I'm looking forward to staying in one place after our week and a half of traveling. It's time to settle in to a new normal.