Filed under: Paraguay
I’ve been avoiding writing on the blog for a couple of reasons.
For one reason, and the most obvious one, is that I don’t have consistent access to Internet without a computer. Two, I don’t have pictures I can upload from my camera to add to the whole ‘user experience’ of reading this little corner of the internet. But the third and actually most important one, is that with each passing day, I have been getting more and more anxious about leaving Paraguay and actually finishing my 2 years in the Peace Corps, and it feels beyond my scope to put into words how I am feeling right now.
But at some point I have to let it all out, so I will try to be as honest as I can.
As succintly as I can put it, I feel as if this is one of the strangest time periods of my life. It seems that this day would never come, but I am suddenly 13 days away from a congratulatory handshake, and a plane ticket back to the USA. This time, I don’t know when I’ll be coming back to Paraguay, to this home I have at times both loathed and loved for 2 years of my life. This huge life goal, something I wanted and dreamed about for years- being a Peace Corps Volunteer- is coming to a rapid and swift close. My classes have wrapped up. My house is slowly being deconstructed; furniture sold, things carefully packed, cheery posters and pictures taken down until there’s nothing but a lot of blank space. I have one more week with my kitten that I love dearly, before he goes to his new owner, a new Volunteer who lives half an hour from me.
When I first decided to finish service a month early, all I felt was immense happiness at the prospect of going home and being with friends and family. I imagined myself lounging at the beach in Florida with my sister, making coconut palm sugar chocolates with my mom, eating lots of fresh seafood, petting my dog, lying in my bed without fear of tarantulas or killer ants attacking me in my sleep. Every frustrating thing that happened in site that would usually bother me- classes cancelled because ‘it’s too cold outside,’ friends breaking promises, bullying neighbors, my backyard becoming an outdoor swamp due to nonstop rain- I just shrugged it all off with ‘only 30 days left.’
Yet I’m here at 13 days until I leave Paraguay, and with each passing day my excitement of going home has turned into anxiety- anxiety of leaving my Paraguay. Suddenly, all I am reflecting on are the good things, and all that I’ve learned here. And, how it actually feels very scary to go back to the United States, where no one understands Paraguay, my experience here, or how I’ve changed. Outwardly, I don’t feel that I’ve changed a lot, but inwardly I think that this experience has changed me monumentally. And coming back to the USA and not being able to chill on lawn chairs for hours on end, drinking terere and sharing comfortable silences makes me feel very strange. Not being able to pass by Denis’s shop any time I want to hang out with his family, or pop on over to my neighbor Mari’s house, is unfathomable. And even though teaching isn’t my biggest passion in life, not continuing the classes that I’ve poured my heart and soul into over the past 6 months actually makes me feel sad.
Leaving the Peace Corps also makes this a very strange and emotionally charged time period. Joining the Peace Corps was always something that I wanted for me, and it was a life goal I yearned to complete more than anything. Now, it is basically over with. I will never be at this time period again in my life, and there are no more new experiences to be had here. It feels like a very anti-climatic exit to a life goal I’ve desperately wanted to complete.
That’s it? isn’t the right phrase, but it’s the first that comes to mind. This was my Peace Corps experience, take it or leave it.
My feelings about leaving seem to change every few minutes, but for the most part I have been feeling sad about ending this time period in my life. I am very excited to go home to the United States and swing full-force into the next stage of my life, which is sure to be incredible (awesome update coming soon!) But, Paraguay has changed me. And though it has been the most challenging experience of my life, I love this place with all of my heart, and I will never, ever forget it or the people I have come to know and love here.
So there’s a lot of jumbled thoughts for you on going home, for good. And I know that when I come home, the past 2 years will all just seem like a strange dream.
13 days left in this dream.
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