The opinions expressed in this blog are mine, and mine alone. They do not represent the views of the Peace Corps or the United States Government.

Friday, May 17, 2013

Reminiscing

The last weeks of Peace Corps are curious.  Staff says not to start any new projects.  Actually, we shouldn't really be starting any new projects the last three months we are at site.  We should be wrapping things up, saying goodbyes, etc.  But, as most things in life, nothing really goes the way that you planned.  People come up to you asking to help them with this and that.  So that is how I found myself yesterday, finishing up a proposal for a gender-based violence workshop in Shoshong next month.  Am I going to be here for the workshop?  Definitely not as a Peace Corps volunteer, but perhaps I will try to come back, just to see how it turns out.

I haven't packed at all.  I have a whole other week for it.  I think I'm lucky, though.  Since I am just moving to Gaborone, I don't have to fit my entire house into two suitcases like most of us ending service and going back to the states.  Yet, the amount of stuff that I have accumulated and have to transport is quite overwhelming.  Just thinking about taking all the photos off the walls is pretty crazy.  Gonna try to get someone to help me with that so I can focus on shoving clothes into suitcases and books into boxes.

Because I am moving to Gabs, I don't feel a huge sense of loss.  I feel like I'll be coming back to Shoshong (or at least I can if I want to).  I have other friends that are happy to get the hell out of here and some that are really sad.  There are things we are all going to miss, of course.  But surprisingly I haven't tapped into it that much because mentally I am still here.

Yet, all of this is making me reminisce.  I'm not thinking much about my service in its entirety, but rather just the beginning.  I am remembering the moment I got off the plane, thinking that it was pretty hot when I boarded that bus.  Little did I know I hadn't seen nothin' yet!  I remember the first few days at Big Five Lodge, first impressions and trying to learn Setswana, all of us being really nervous for home stay matching ceremony.  I remember how we played a name game with all of the staff.  The number of Batswana was incredible and I thought, "How am I ever going to remember all of these names?!"  But I did.  I remember all of us trying to practice our Setswana with workers at the lodge, stumbling over "tsogile" and "jang."

I remember the smells, the hot air, the lack of humidity that has made my hair a sight to behold these last two years (in a good way).  I remember how little I knew and how I kept progressively thinking I knew more and more as time went on.  But I suppose that is life's trick, right?  The minute you think you have something figured out, another aspect of life smacks you across the face and says, "Oh yeah...well take a look at this!"  I find that absolutely wonderful.

After being here for two years, I am still learning more and more about this culture and the way people relate to each other.  Entering the professional world in Gaborone will be a new step in learning about how to survive here.  New rules.  New procedures.  At least I have been primed for waiting by life in the village.  Now I know the trick: always bring a book.  You'll never be bored!  You could wait for hours!  No big deal!  It's brilliant.

Moving always causes a small amount of anxiety, regardless the circumstances.  But I am happy that I am not returning to the states.  Thinking of going back almost scares me.  The thought of food excites me, REAL italian food and a DECENT martini for once, dairy ice cream instead of vegetable fat...the list goes on.  But the things I miss about America are pleasure-related (food, museums, site-seeing).  I suppose I miss the efficiency, but I don't miss the attitude that goes with it, the frustration, the stress, and the feeling that I AM THE MOST IMPORTANT PERSON IN THE WORLD SO WHY AREN'T YOU DOING WHAT I WANT.  Reading about American news makes my head spin.  I am away from that world and I still can't stand hearing about it.  How am I going to feel when I am back there again?  No, thank you.  I will take another year or two before I decide I can live in America full time again.

Perhaps I will blog more, perhaps not.  For those of you who have been reading my blog since the beginning, I hope you have enjoyed it and have learned along with me.  All we can do is learn and hope that we make good decisions in our lives that positively affect those around us.

So here's to the next chapter.

2 comments:

  1. I love what you wrote "...hope that we make good decisions in our lives that positively affect those around us." That's really a beautiful sentiment. Beautiful way to look at the journey through life. While we are learning and changing, and growing. Brings to mind my favorite Gandhi quote "Be the change you want to see in the world." That's you. I'm so very proud of you and I love you very much. Mama

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  2. Next chapter - yup - wonderful reflections Amelia - life is rich - look forward to seeing you - it's been year and a half for me - time flies - what a trip, eh? Dad

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