Monday, June 24, 2013

A Year Ago Today

June 24th 2012: I woke up early – loaded my two suitcases [of what I thought I needed for two years in Africa] into my dad's car. Said goodbye to my dog and my neighbors. We drove 20 minutes to pick up Erik at his house and the four us of.. me mom dad and Erik drove off to find breakfast so we could eat one last meal together before I flew off to Benin. I barely touched my food. My stomach was in knots. An hour later they dropped me off at the Holiday Inn in Philly where I would have a day full of icebreakers with other new peace corps volunteer trainees. Everyone was given about 200 dollars to go out for dinner – and for airport spending. I went to one of my favorite restaurants in Philly with a group of trainees. I had a veggie burger and fries and beer and the restaurant staff played a mix of songs about in Africa in honor of us leaving. It was really nice – at the time I was convinced getting to know my new “coworkers” at dinner was the best thing to do. Later I wished I had used that money to go out for a nice dinner with Erik – or perhaps to call my friends up and buy everyone drinks at a local bar that we like. I would have two years to get to know all of these new friends. OH well – I probably made the right decision. I didn't stay out late we had to get up early to go to the airport the next morning. In many ways this “first day” was much different for me than for the others because I was still saying my goodbyes to home. – I hadn't left home yet. I didn't feel like I was leaving until we were on the plane to Africa the next day. Most of the others had already experienced the feeling of leaving on their flights or train rides into Philly. It was a stressful and emotional day. The three days that followed are nothing but a blur to me now. 


June 24th 2013: In comparison today was typical and relaxing -- not that typical means what it meant to me a year ago. I woke up at a reasonable hour and spent my morning sitting at the couturier while she finished a skirt I had ordered last week and adjusted the straps on a beautiful dress a recently COS-ed volunteer had given to me as a gift on Saturday before she left. I went to Songhai and bought some corn. Went to Ouando Marche for fruit sugar and some soap for washing clothes. --- In the afternoon I had the two Japanese volunteers who live in village with me over for dinner. It had been one of their birthdays on Saturday and so I decided to have them over to celebrate since I hadn't been there over the weekend. I made boxed mac & cheese.. grilled up some sweet corn from Songhai.. and baked a chocolate cake. One of my friends had never had mac & cheese before so that was an interesting experience for her.. I think she really enjoyed it. – It was just a day in village. No icebreakers. No beer. No tearful goodbyes. Just cake and friends and a few short power outages. 


It is weird to think I haven't seen my parents for a year and for most of my friends it has been even longer. – The volunteers who trained us have officially started leaving the country (some people are approved to close their service a month or two early for graduate school). Over this past weekend I had my first official training to take over one of the few second year positions that I will be stepping into. This weekend it was as a Cotonou Workstation Committee Member.. this coming week I will be training for the Peer Support Network. Where has the time gone.

I can't believe it has been a year since my parents dropped me off at the hotel in Philly. 

Honestly, What were they thinking. 

1 comment:

  1. they were thinking Honestly what is she thinking. That being said I believe that the decision was a good one for your future and that it was possible to stagnate in camden. SOmetimes laying groundwork for the future is a lot of work. Done well it will support you forever . happy birthday to my little girl.