The end

Brunch aftermath

Brunch aftermath

And in a whirlwind, I left Malawi.  My last week in Lilongwe was full of errands and goodbyes, culminating in a friend-filled brunch on Sunday afternoon.  Despite having had a very late night on Saturday, I managed to churn out final batches of bagels and cinnamon rolls.  For better or for worse, I think my legacy among the Lilongwe expat crowd is far more defined by my baking skills than my research agenda.

Brunch guests

Brunch guests

For those of you wondering, yes, I sold my car.  This is what $3,200 USD looks like in kwacha.  (Remember, Malawi’s largest bill is worth about $3.)  Since I sold my car on Friday afternoon, I had to hide a giant envelope of kwacha in my closet all weekend, until I could change it for dollars on Monday morning.  Fortunately, it went off without a hitch.  Unfortunately, I did not take a photo of me gleefully clutching the envelope stuffed full of cash.

This is what 450,000 kwacha looks like

This is what 450,000 kwacha looks like

By Monday at noon, it was all over but the shouting: my bags were packed, my hard drive was full of music, and my room (mostly) clean.  My dear friend Leigh drove me to the airport, where we sat at the open air restaurant for a while before my plane departed.  From Lilongwe, I went to Johannesburg, spent a few hours in the airport, then hopped on an 18 hour flight to Atlanta.  After going through customs and another layover in Atlanta, I arrived in Des Moines about 1 PM local time.  My mom, predictably, was crying.  My dad and brother, also predictably, were so busy talking about siding the house that they didn’t even notice when I came down the stairs into the waiting room.

We stopped for lunch and then ice cream in Des Moines, so by the time my feet landed on the farm, it was about a 36 hour trip, door to door.  Surprisingly, the trip was not as brutal as I had expected.  I was able to sleep on the plane, and despite being quite confused about the time, slept most of the Iowa night.

So, here I am in Iowa.  It is GREEN, saturated in such a way as to deserve all caps.  And Malawi, once again, is halfway around the world.

Though Amy is no longer in Malawi, do expect a few more wrap-up posts in the coming days, including some conclusions from my research project.  For now, though, know that I am basking in the small delights of home:  real milk, fresh vegetables (of the non-tomato, onion, and greens variety), clothes that I haven’t seen in months, and of course, family and friends.

Signing off with one more Mulanje photo, courtesy of my friend Nick:

An American moment:  Drinking a Coke on top of Mulanje

An American moment: Drinking a Coke on top of Mulanje. (Yes, this is posed.)


3 Responses to “The end”

  1. Nancy M Says:

    Welcome home. I’ve greatly enjoyed your web site–what am I going to do for reading. My recounting of your experiences entertained us at lunch on several days!

  2. Me Says:

    Welcome back Home!! We have enjoyed your adventures and look forward to more. May the Lord bless you and your work!!!!

  3. LoveLetterstoanAmericanSoldier Says:

    Bravo!! Well done, my love!

    Thanks for taking us all along on your trip.
    I know you’ll always have a piece of Africa in your heart now, but we’re all glad to have you home.

    And hey, it’s not so bad to be remembered for your sweet treats 😉


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