the sunrise in the village
putting together the gingerbread house my parents sent for christmas – with my counterpart and her daughter
badri putting together the tabletop christmas tree
staying cozy by the fire – with the cat
grade 1 – they’re cute, but it’s deceiving
the cat being his adorable self
i realize that i haven’t posted since january, but as my mother knows, my blog creative process involves a lot of thinking about what i’m going to write before i write. plus, i’ve been an emotional wreck lately and i didn’t really know how to contain some of my more nastier emotions. on the bright side, i think my emotions have evened themselves out (i’m sure the entire bag of peanut butter m&ms that i just ate helped with that) and i’m ready to write.
fortunately/unfortunately time is starting to run out. as of today i have a little over a month and a half before my official close of service (COS) date. on june 21st i’ll be flying to turkey to spend 10 days with fellow volunteer danielle traveling around the country. june 30th will be my official return to america. i say fortunately because 2 years is a long time to be away from home and on a constant emotional/mental rollercoaster. honestly, this experience has been THE best experience of my life, but realistically, it’s time to come home. i’m at that point in my life where i realize it’s time to get a job and carve out some sort of niche for myself on my home turf, whether that’s in michigan or elsewhere. i do know i’ll be heading outside the country again, whether as a peace corps volunteer (2.0) or in some other capacity. but, for now, america is where i need to be. however, when i get home am i just going to want to escape again? quite possibly (the 2012 presidential election probably won’t help). and i’ll deal with that when i the time comes.
will i miss georgia? ehh, i’ll definitely miss certain aspects. but i can say with complete conviction and truth that i will miss my host family the most. in fact, tears are running down my face as i write this. THAT’S how much i’ll miss them. i have no shame in saying that one of the reasons (if not THE reason) i stuck out these past 2 years is because of them. i like my school and my counterpart just fine; the students not so much, but it’s my host family that has gotten me through the hardest bits. coming home to a loving family, in a foreign country no less, after having a less than stellar day at school is beyond amazing and i know that i will never feel this amount of love from a group of people that is not my own flesh and blood again. is it horrible that the things that i will miss about this country are few? i don’t think so, mostly because that’s honestly how i feel but also because my host family introduced me to or gave me the opportunity to experience all the other things i’ll miss. and i’m forever grateful for that. i read a blog post from a peace corps volunteer i went to university with who did her service in cambodia. one of her final posts in country was about the things she will miss, not the things she won’t miss. i also plan on doing that before i leave here. i think that’s a good way to end my time here while reflecting on all the positives. i’m also considering how to keep this blog up and running when i’m a returned peace corps volunteer. it will transition into something else, hopefully. or, it will just go on hiatus until the next adventure. i don’t know yet, but i’m open to suggestions.
so, i’m both excited and sad to go. leaving my host family will be the hardest thing i’ll have to do here. i’m not looking forward to that at all, especially since they won’t be able to come see me off at the airport. i’ll say goodbye to them at site and still be in the country for a few days afterward. that’s no fun. the chances of keeping in touch are slim. i’m facebook friends with their sons so that’s good and i plan on installing skype on my host mom’s computer, but i know that my georgian skills will get worse (than they already are) and our ability to talk to each other will diminish. and that depresses me. a lot.
needless to say, i’m dealing with a lot right now. conflicting emotions about leaving, the anxieties of finding a job in the u.s., making up some sort of plan to lose weight when i get home, moving back in with mom and dad, having to talk about what i’ve been doing for the past 2 years to people who don’t really care….and the list goes on. i think the first 3 weeks will be fine, but then i’ll realize that i’m not going back and that will be hard. i’ve asked that my parents be understanding and that my peace corps friends be on hand for any mental breakdowns. that’s not too much to ask, right?!
on a less somber note, i received usaid funding (in the form of a SPA grant) to buy equipment for and deliver a series of technology trainings at my school for teachers. the equipment has all been purchased and the trainings have begun. other than that, we had our COS conference at the beginning of march (after i got back from a week and a half in the states) and then i went to yerevan, armenia with a friend for a couple of days. after 3 weeks of not being in my village and going to school it was hard to come back and get back in the groove of things. i had a mini mental breakdown after it snowed again unexpectedly…after 3 days of BEAUTIFUL spring weather. that was a shitty couple of days. there were a lot of teary phone calls home and to other pcvs. i’ve started giving things away that i’m not taking back to the states with me. my closets are becoming more and more empty as days go by. my suitcases are pretty much already packed and have been since march. ha. thinking ahead or just plain crazy? i don’t know…. i’ve made all my final appointments for medical and programmatic things and bought all of my post-peace corps flights. that just makes it more real, i guess. now it’s just a matter of getting through the next 6 weeks, finishing up last minute projects, getting in some last minute traveling around the country and preparing myself to say goodbye to a family (and country) that has been my home for the past 26 months.
easter came and went here. i was pretty much in a debbie downer mood because my allergies were in full force the entire weekend, but at least it was 5 days of no school! my host brothers and host uncle came to the village from tbilisi, but we didn’t hang out much since they were out gallivanting with friends and i was in bed blowing my nose obnoxiously (and culturally insensitively) loud. then it was a full week in tbilisi with volunteer danielle and erin facilitating adult english conversation classes for 3 days. it’s always fun to work at these tbilisi city hall-organized classes because a lot of the leading questions we ask provoke some very interesting responses. my favorites were: “mayans (yeah those guys who lived down there in mexico) were actually ancient georgians” and “other countries need to adopt georgia’s respect for women (all that respect that encourages women to marry young, stay at home cooking and cleaning and bearing kids?)”. sometimes i just get angry at the responses and other times i can’t help but laugh at how ridiculous they are. oh georgia.
tomorrow is friday so that means the weekend is within my sights. i’m not doing anything super interesting because i’m saving up my moolah for a trip to svaneti (northern georgia, bordering russia) with some other volunteers at the end of the month. 6 more weeks until the end of school, 7 until i leave for turkey, 8 until i’m back in the u.s of a.