>> did that really happen? i'm not entirely convinced that i went home for two weeks. the trip back had its ups and downs. departure from o'hare was painless, the eight-hour flight seemed short (because i kept falling asleep and waking up to find everyone else eating or drinking. all i had was a pillow imprint on my face and drool). arriving at heathrow was fine, but i ended up getting lost. a kind british heathrow worker directed me the right way. thank you, heathrow. the gate for the plane to freetown was 33A. we didn't even get a whole gate. i found this amusing. the people waiting for this plane were a smattering of english miners, ngo workers, africans, and people like me, (haha no no im kidding. there's no one else like me.) so, we board. i have a seat by the window,... and we're leaving! the plane was easily half-empty, which means the aisle seat next to me because my junk depository space. this flight also seemed shorter than its six-and-a-half-hour length, although again i kept falling asleep. (i had been out late many nights with friends during my two weeks..my body needed some catch-up). also, the flight attendant was cute, but that's neither here nor there. filled out my landing card, got off the plane. (imma be honest. i DISLIKE STRONGLY lungi airport, especially at DARK). it's dark out. went down the stairs, inside the muggy, dimly-lit arrivals area into a long line, moved through and gave the attendant my arrivals card and passport, she barely looks at it, waves me through. i'm stopped rather roughly by a man demanding to see my world health organization card. i show it to him. he barely looks at it and waves me through. i'm stopped again by a man demanding to see everyone's passport and visa. barely looks at mine, waves me through. now we're standing in front of one small slowly-moving luggage carousel, like one of those moving walkways except filled with elderly folks that aren't moving. slowly and slower the luggage moves around. then, and i always feel like i have this, EVERYONE ELSE is getting their luggage. do you panic at this too? i do. not to mention the absolute mess that would create. but, my worries are for naught- there are my bags. my ride to take me to the ferry? not there. phone call. his friend? okay. solomon takes me to an air-conditioned bus, puts my things onboard, a few more people, and off we go to the nassit ferry (not the one ive taken before, superb..). we board, solomon tells me he's not coming over with us, but here's the number of a driver to take me to the compound. (great.) i'm in the first-class lounge. i get a star beer, feel a little more at home. there's an old movie about guerilla warfare on the flat-screen TV. (dear nassit ferry, maybe we could show something more like a 'welcome to sierra leone! land of peace, love, unity, and respect movie?) i go up to buy a bag of chips. a SMALL bag. i'm told they cost 10,000Le. you must think i just got here. i go outside, watch the waves go by, see freetown looming larger on the horizon. our arrival at government wharf is more-or-less a crash, and that's not just me.. sierra leoneans around me are yelling 'EASE UP! EASE UP!!!!!'.. then we crash. the cement columns holding up that particular part of the dock nearly fall over sideways. but they don't. everyone looks around with a look of,.. 'we're okay. we're okay.' the bus we rode on in is downstairs, he turns the behemoth around, we walk down the slippery ramp (i nearly died here. slippery. dark. tricky.) and the bus lumbers off behind us, scraping its front fender and looking altogether ridiculous coming off the rusting ferry. he stops, the driver helps me with my bags, and now i'm looking for my 'driver' in the darkness of government wharf. oh how i LOVE sierra leone. a man approaches. 'bryan?' i nod. i know his name is supposedly ibrahim. 'ibrahim?' he nods. we go to his red taxi, he puts my belongings inside, and off we go. we have a great conversation about him being susu, peace corps, etc., and sooner rather than later, we arrive at the peace corps compound. i disembark, pay him more than i should because i really just want to get inside the big, safe, blue peace corps doors. i walk up the hostel, talk with some volunteers there, update my facebook status, and collapse. i loved going home, but travelling in and out of sierra leone is about as much fun as a migraine. i love and miss you all.