June 6, 2012
A year ago today we left home. We left the airport at 6:30 am, seen off by our parents. I remember going through security while they watched, aware that in a few moments, once I got my bag back and my shoes on my feet again, I would turn around and wave goodbye and then I would have to go on. I remember trying to move slowly. That was really the hardest moment in the long process of saying goodbye.
It seemed that those last few weeks leading up to that morning went by so, so fast and it became difficult to process what was happening. On one hand, Oliver and I were thrilled to be finally setting off on our Peace Corps adventure, on the other, it was terrifying actually leaving Appleton, something I had been trying unabashedly to do for years. But the deadline to be with our families and friends began speeding towards us. Through all that time I kept reminding myself, this is the last time you’re going to be at your grandmother’s house, this is the last time you’ll go out to eat with your sister, this is the last time you’ll ride in a car with your father, play with your nephews, go camping with your family. I guess I got a bit melodramatic. At least my heightened emotional state paid off in one way, I very clearly remember those weeks.
Now a year into our service, we’re supposed to be “integrated” and have a number of projects going. After a year, I feel almost like I’ve been here forever and this is what my life has always been. We’re having the experience of a life time. But then, when I think about the people I left behind, I still feel like I’ve collapsed crying in the terminal, right around the corner from the people I love the most.
We miss you all very much.
I started this list several months ago when I was wondering what I was doing on the other side of the planet from my family. It helps to think of the things I wouldn’t have been able to do if I hadn’t ever left. So here’s what I’ve been doing the last year:
-Lived in Africa
-Go adventure caving
-Learn to cook without a microwave, frozen food section, oven, boxed cakes, all season produce, and instant noodles
-Make friends with people from all over the US (other volunteers)
-Build a bookshelf
-See a pride of lions in the middle of the night feasting on their kill
-Teach someone how to use a computer for the first time
-Start a blog
-Receive letters from family and friends
-Take fabulous photographs
-Have left Appleton
-See a wonder of the world
-Pet a cheetah
-Sew a cloth book for one of my nephews
-Learn to appreciate home
-Inspire neighbours to start their own gardens
-Set up a library
-Become an avid animal and bird watcher
So, here’s to another year,
Rebecca is Reading: The Road
We are Watching: The Tutors, Season 1 and Fraizer, Season 2