Sunday, September 23, 2012

The Long Goodbye, Part 1

My house.
I didn’t get the coordinator position for next year, which I mentioned in a previous post.  The outcome was unexpected.  Like most people, I don’t like loosing. I’m not used to reaching for something and not getting it; I got into my top choice for college, after college I got the job I most wanted, I got accepted into the Peace Corps when I was ready to leave said job.  So, I’m not used to rejection.  However, now I’m glad (and not just because I’m trying to make myself feel better).  Working on my resume has made me realize that the extra year of my life would have just ended up being a few more lines and what is already shaping up to be a good resume. Well, clearly it would have been more than that, but basically it’s time to move on to new things.
Na Polly, my Mama Paraguaya.
Its great to finally know what next year holds.  It was difficult to look at other options when I though I might be staying in Paraguay.  One of the effects of knowing I’m leaving in December is that it’s hitting home that I might never see the people in my community again.  At least when I was leaving Indiana to come to Paraguay, I knew I would be back in a few years.  I knew I would most likely see my friends and family again.  As it is, I hope to come back to Paraguay in 5 or 10 years, but I honestly don’t know if that will be an option for me.  I’m lucky I’m so close to my community.  I’m sure many volunteers leave after two years with no desire to look back.  But despite my shortcomings as a volunteer (my utter inability to learn Guarani), the people here have taken me into their hearts and homes.
Kids taking over my house.
More kids... taking over my house.
Additionally, I have acquired friends (and more) in Santani, the large pueblo near my community.  At least I will be able to stay in touch with the wonderful supportive community of people I know there.  Most of them are on facebook.  I’ll stay connected, at least peripherally, to their lives.  However in my actual site (which is much poor and more rural than Santani), only one person has a computer, and I doubt he has facebook.  My neighbor, Mabel (one of the few people my age in site that I hang out with) asked me about text messaging the states.  Dang I’m going to miss it here.
Julieta and Teresa
On the other hand, whenever something annoying/painful/frustrating happens, I now rejoice that soon, I’ll soon not be bothered by such things.  I will not have to deal with caterpillars, frogs, or tarantulas overrunning my home.  Sure, those things will exist in the States, but they wont enter my house with the same ease they do here.  Giardia (thanks Peru)? Pinworms (thanks kids)? Eye infections? Possible in the states, but much less likely.  When I feel the call of nature in the middle of the night, I will no longer have to make the rather hazardous trek to the latrine.
Traveling will be different.  In the states I’ll probably have access to a car, but much less access to buses and much fewer locations within walking distance.
Communication will be different too.  I’ll speak the dominant language fluently (and the second most predominant language passably), but Ill no longer be an exciting foreigner towards which people extend endless amounts of patients.  I’ll blend in… I’ll no longer stand out. Is this good or bad?
Bingo in English class.
Clearly I have some more thinking to do on this topic.  I “Close of Service” (COS) in under three months, so I’m sure there will be a Part 2 to this post.

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