Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Made it Back!

Today marks the three-week anniversary of my arrival back home to the US. After 27 months living in Guatemala, I landed on my parents' door-step (well, at their airport) with 85 lbs. of luggage and an adorable and thoroughly traumatized cat. None of this was really anywhere near as hard core as it may sound.


January 3, 2010...

Leaving Rochester for Washington, DC with 45 lbs of luggage. I apparently thought I was going on a two-year backpacking trip. Or wished I were.

April 4, 2012..

Same backpack. Pretty much everything else is different.

Luxurious car ride home. Oliver was just glad to be free after 13 hours inside a 10x20x10 in. mesh handbag.

If there's anything I learned in Peace Corps, it's to take adjustments slowly, so that's what I've been trying to do. Even so, the last three weeks have been a bit of a whirlwind: enjoying so many little luxuries, big emotional milestones like my grandma's memorial service, and getting married (err.. no worries, just the small civil prequel to the big celebration this summer), unpacking and packing back up to move to grad school, the two-day drive up here, unpacking, tracking down housewares all over town...

Truthfully I've only begun to adjust to my grandma's passing, to being back in a totally different culture and context and role, to living with another actual person with distinct needs and desires! (What's that all about?)

Most days I have moments of feeling incredibly blank, as though I can't remember who I am or what I'm doing, almost like a DVD that's skipping. Most days, though, I also catch glimmers of the wide open potential of the future I've imagined, and those glimmers remind me that I am me, here, taking the steps I have to toward that future.

I'm just keeping in mind the common wisdom in my site in Guatemala:

little by little.

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Little Luxuries as a Returned Volunteer

Wow- it's hard to believe I've been back in the US now for a little over two weeks. The time has gone by fast. In general I'm happy to be back, but I'm definitely still adjusting.

It's been a huge transition for me with my grandma passing away, being reunited for the long-term with my significant other, moving back up to graduate school, and giving up the fulfilling role that I had with Peace Corps in environmental organizing.

Among all the confusing/discouraging personal and cultural changes, there are certainly many little luxuries to be excited about. On that note I'll leave you with a list of them:

(1) Hot water out of the tap!

(2) Clean water out of the tap!

(3) Laundry with a washing machine and dryer!

(4) The variety of delicious foods (ie. cheap convenience foods and restaurants...)

(5) Recycling bins!

(6) Carpeting and couches

(7) Less dirt to clean...

(8) Not sticking out all the time (or any of the time).

(9) Family and friends