Friday, November 23, 2012

The End. "Is this Real?"

God Bless America! Matt and I have been back on US soil for almost two full days--one being Thanksgiving--and I find myself constantly asking out loud "Is this real?" I am filled with wonder every time I use the bathroom or sit on a comfortable chair or couch. Beds and pillows are nothing short of amazing. The highway is glorious and TV is strange. Food is amazing--absolutely amazing--at every bite--and I find myself overwhelmed by the options and choices each new day brings along. Showers-with their running hot water are just about my favorite part of each day--and I have found that tears come to eyes easily over the simple things. Seeing family is by far and away the very best part of any homecoming and this is no exception--saying "good-bye" and knowing that it is just until tomorrow or maybe next month is a refreshing change from the teary eyed exchanges over the past 2 years and 3 months. There is an opposite side to all of this, I know, and of course, it weighs heavy in my heart---and that is the thought of Nicaraguan friends and family. Thanks to technology--it will be easier than ever before to stay in touch with everyone--but it is simply not the same. My host mom has been appearing in my dreams-and I awake with her on my mind often...perhaps it is time to buy a calling card. Every now and then, as I am lying on an amazing soft bed, or brushing my teeth with clean, running water at a bathroom sink--I get flashes of my everyday life in Nicaragua--standing outside to brush my teeth--awaking to the tickle of our mosquito net and squealing pigs and crowing roosters-- The last few weeks in the country were intense--and exhausting. I feel somewhat emotionally drained. We had 4-5 "despedidas" or going away parties. My eighth graders and seventh graders each threw me a party and gave me gifts--some of them grabbing things from their homes at the last minute--teachers were taking earrings out of their own ears to give me as they said good-bye---we were fed and fed and fed in true hospitable Nica-style--and the night before we left our little pueblo--we had a dinner and all night long dance party at our host family's house. I cried during a few especially difficult good-byes--never knowing if I could fully express how much the sincere friendship of a few especially close Nica friends, family members, and co-workers meant to me. Hugging my host nieces and nephews--my little kid friends---well, after 2 years, it's just hard.... We left our little town and our host sister, husband, and one of their kids drove us to Managua--and then stayed with our training host family nearby. It was so neat to see our one family meet our other family--we got a snapshot of us all together and I will treasure it forever. I know in my heart that we will return to visit---I just don't know when. Peace Corps is truly a one of a kind experience. And although there are parts I wish I could erase or change--I don't think I would ever take it back.

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