In many ways, I tried to view this "break" as a vacation, but that is a mis-representation of my time here. It was not stress-free. I had to get to a mental place where I felt like I could return to my site and be an effective volunteer. I am happy to report that has happened. I cannot wait to see my Batswana and Peace Corps friends again.
I wondered how I would feel leaving the United States...if I would be a little sad or be completely ready to get back into volunteer work. During the last 5 weeks, I was able to meet my godson for the first time and visit with family and friends. Being reminded of the people I am leaving behind makes it more difficult to go. Yet, sometimes things happen to point us in the right direction. One of those moments happened today.
I was in the post office mailing something to a friend. A woman came up to the window, asking if she could just mail her package. She simply had to hand it to the post office worker. She had already paid for it. The postal worker told this woman that she had to wait at the end of the line. I told her to just go in front of me. This woman's transaction took perhaps 20 seconds.
Then, my stamp-buying and box-mailing transaction took a couple of minutes, as I was taping up the box to mail to my friend. As I left the post office, a woman approached me. She said:
"Congratulations for the longest transaction with 17 people in line. You let that woman go ahead of you and didn't even ask."
I was so surprised at her rudeness. I didn't say anything, just smiled. After the woman left, an older woman standing in line said: "Don't worry. That wasn't about you. And your reaction said it all. Bless you."
In one minute, I had been reminded of the worst and best of America. And as I left the post office, I yearned to return to the land of long lines in which no one hassles you for taking more than your allotted 2 minutes.
So, in case any of you are wondering, I am VERY ready to return to Botswana. Year two? Bring it on.