I was reading a PC blog the other day that included tips about PCVs going home. It mentioned that we shouldn’t expect other people to want every single detail of our PC experience if we ourselves haven’t been in tune with every detail of our friends and family’s lives. Admittedly, I find my life here quite different than living in the U.S. but whether in Guyana or the U.S. we all have our day to day occurrences. Truthfully, no one is going to listen to all of them all at once and I can’t even remember them all anyway. That is the main reason why I chose to write this blog about my experiences, so I can remember some of my thoughts and feelings about my service here and so that I can share some things more regularly with you.
Now that I have gotten off track (my mind these days), let me get back to what I wanted to share. In Peace Corps, I feel like things are always a little more uncertain than life at home. I expected that I would only come home once during my service. First of all it is expensive to travel back and forth, we have limited vacation days, and it’s just really hard to be back and forth between two different lives so to speak. However, towards the end of October, I was realizing more and more that I was starting to feel burnt out. I had had a packed summer, October I don’t think I was home one weekend, and then I had more activities in November. Not to mention grad school apps, finishing my Masters work, and the limitless paper work impending for COS.
I was sitting on a mini bus one day and I just craved being home; I needed a break, I needed to be with my family, I needed to get myself in order. Luckily, my parents are amazing and were excited to have me home too. I attended an AWESOME mini GLOW in Linden, which always recharges my spirit here and hopped on a plane the next day.
All of a sudden I found myself standing on the streets of NYC bleary eyed and freezing searching for a Chipotle before I embarked on the next 4 hour bus ride leg of my journey. Unlike last time, I barely told anyone I was coming home. I just wanted to relax and spend time with my family. Instead of cramming in everything all at once, things happened more organically. I had no expectations and no real set plans and it was glorious. I cooked what I wanted, explored some restaurants, and just was completely lazy at times.
My late November arrival put me right in line to celebrate on of my most favorite holidays; Thanksgiving. My mom has a big family so we all get together and have a big delicious dinner.
It was even more important to be there this year because it was the first without my uncle. He recently passed away and Thanksgiving I think was one of his favorite holidays as well. I couldn’t fathom the idea of my family getting together, remembering and honoring him and not being there. I missed last Thanksgiving dearly, so I know this year would have been even worse. It was definitely a bitter sweet day. I loved seeing all of my cousins, aunts, uncles, but you could tell someone was missing. The good thing about a big family though is that we are all there to support one another and it is also amazing to see the new generations of our family. I also realized that a lot more people follow my blog than I thought. It was really encouraging to hear that a lot of my family follows these posts and I really appreciate it!
As my parents and I drove down from New York, we looked for little off the beaten path restaurants. I can remember taking lots of these types of long car rides, finding little places, and just enjoying ourselves. We never really did the big, Disneyland trips, or traveled to really touristy places. In a way I think this is why I appreciate the little places I come across here in Guyana or anywhere I travel. I marvel at the small things, like really good food shops, and every so often I feel the need to get out and see something new, even if it isn’t that significant.
After this past visit home, I feel much more comfortable with the idea of living back in the U.S. When I visited home the first time, I wasn’t ready to be back; I simply still had a lot left to do in Guyana. I went to board my bus to New York and the bus manager happened to be Guyanese. She exclaimed “You are going to Guyana?! I wish I were going there!” I had to smile a little. I have met many Guyanese who want to come to the U.S., and this woman was yearning for Guyana. I could relate though, no matter where you are there is always a wholesome, nostalgic feeling that compels you home from time to time. When I touched down in Guyana I noticed any pangs of extreme culture shock were over. As I stepped off the plane I switched U.S. mode off and Guyana mode on. Without really blinking, I gave an impromptu speech for the end of our exercise class and helped out at another awesome mini-GLOW. Somehow I have always hit the ground running here. The only difference is that now I find myself saying goodbye to a lot of things. As I was driving out of Black Bush from our minicamp, I realized that that might be the last one I do, the last time I’m even in Black Bush or see some of our campers. Black Bush was one of the first rural sites I visited when I was first allowed to spend the night out of my own site. How hospitable the people were and how different their community was compared as my own. We have had many phenomenal GLOW girls come from that area and while it’s not a place I have visited often, it has made a big impression on me, just as a lot of villages and people in Guyana have.
I expect to have a lot more moments like this in the next few months. The next few months are actually all I have left. It will be a mix of cramming in everything I still need/want to do here, freaking out about what I will do after PC, as well as figuring out how to leave things. I know you need to have a goodbye in order to go on to the next thing, in which I have a lot of great adventures coming up, but it still doesn’t make saying goodbye any easier. And somehow no matter what I do, my eyes always seem to be allergic to goodbyes.
As this is somewhat of a Thanksgiving post, I can tell you I am always and forever thankful for my family and friends that I have all over. I also am extremely thankful for the opportunity to see so many amazing things here in Guyana, whether it is the beauty of the land, learning about the culture, or watching the lives of people change and grow, my experiences here have influenced me greatly. Also I am grateful for the perspective to be thankful for the things I have never had to know and for the challenges that have made me a stronger individual. Finally, I am thankful for the opportunity to know such a great uncle. He will be greatly missed, but I know I am a better person because he has touched my life and that his memory will always live on within me.