Writing from my parents' kitchen in quaint little Clayton, California while sipping the fresh ground Guatemalan coffee I brought back with me...
So the last two and a half weeks went by in a whirlwind of tearful goodbyes, cheerful story swapping, self-congratulatory speeches, too much traveling, souvenir shopping, and nervous glances into our respective futures. It was as much of an experience as the rest of my Peace Corps service put together. And I didn't want to just leave this blog without giving it at least an attempt to address ending service and readjusting to life back at home.
About a month ago, after so much eager anticipation and countdown ("Only four months until I go home...! " "Only 3 months and 17 days until I go home....!"), I started to feel strange. I started viewing the normal daily activities (walking through the streets; buying produce at the market; engaging in idle chit chat with tienda owners and co-workers; practicing English with townsfolk) with a growing sense of nostalgia. And I started to get sad and a little panicky at the thought of leaving. I'd never really left a place before with such finality-it may be many years before I would visit Sija (if ever), and even then only for an afternoon or a couple of days before rushing on to a (let's be honest) more exciting/beautiful/warm destination.
The sadness and anxiety at the prospect of COS'ing (stands for Close of Service or finishing your commitment to Peace Corps after 27 months-Peace Corps LOVES acronyms, like any good government organization) was surprising. I had been looking forward to:
a) finishing my commitment with Peace Corps in good standing and
b) re-uniting with friends, family, and boyfriend
for so long that I didn't expect this dichotomy of emotions that popped up. I didn't know it was possible to feel such a sense of loss and feel so sad to leave, and also so excited and happy to return home, at the same time. And so I bounced back and forth between the two extremes as the day to leave once and for all approached rapidly.
to be continued....