After nine months in Sudan, I've finally managed to take some time off - and arrive 'home' (well, in the place where most my family lives) just in time for the holidays.
Culture shock, as usual, is more intense in reverse - and even on the drive home from the airport I began marvelling at how beautiful life can be in a peaceful and prosperous country like my own.
While even the most horrific stories and sights rarely make me emotional on the job in Sudan (counsellors tell me this is all to do with self-protection), I found myself getting teary-eyed at the sight of a lovingly handpainted bird house that was perched among the pines in a woody residential area near my home.
To think that someone had the time, the resources and the compassion for a few little winged creatures to erect this little bird haven for no particularly pressing reason suddenly seemed like the ultimate luxury to me - a kind of luxury that I'll be unlikely to see in Darfur for quite a long time.
As I rediscover the comforts of my 'normal' life and begin to reflect on my Darfur experiences, I will also try to take a few weeks of holiday from my blog. I hope to be back with stories and thoughts on Darfur in the new year.