Well holy moly, cow-heart-on-a-stick, it is February and I have no posts for 2013!
This has largely been because I haven't had a working computer up until about a couple weeks ago, and then just this week I got internet back in my room again. I have so much I want to tell you all. Like about my incredibly awesome, never-gonna-top-this New Years vacation in Ecuador with some fellow volunteers and my boyfriend. Or how my projects turned out, and the projects I'm already working on for the next school year. Let's not forget that I have enough material to write two "Sh*t My Host Dad Says" posts saved up (I think some of the best yet).
But above all of those things, this is what I want to tell you right now:
This is the year I come home!
It's here! I left the USA in 2011, and here we are two years later. I can't believe it! Friends and family, I will see you this year!
It is bizarre because I still have a lot of time left (around 6 months) but that is nothing compared to when I started. Already my host family and I talk about what it will be like when I leave and discussions are in the works for a replacement volunteer. It's pretty emotional. I am jumping for joy inside that I will get to go home and that I have accomplished a life goal, and then I choke up and sometimes cry because of what that means for my home here.
Last week my regional coordinator (a Peruvian who is kind of like a go between for the Lima office and volunteers) came to my site to talk to my socios. I first took him to the municipality and after some niceties I told my socia (the secretary of the mayor) about the possibility of a replacement volunteer. She looked at my regional coordinator and said, "Are we not allowed to request that Amanda stay an additional two-years instead of getting a new volunteer?"
I was actually taken aback by that comment. I didn't imagine that people wanted me around that much. After my RC explained to her that staying was a volunteers choice, everyone in the room turned and looked at me so expectantly. I was a little shocked and all I could stutter out was, "You guys....my family, my friends, my boyfriend." It was a strange moment. I never expected I would be asked to stay.
We then left to go talk to my amazing socia, the obstetrician, at the health post. On our way there I was doing my usual "Hola, ¿Como estas?" to people as we passed and my RC said, "Wow, Amanda, everyone knows you!"
"Of course they do," I said. "I'm the only white girl in town."
I guess that's just how I've seen myself; the ever conspicuous white girl in town who everyone sees running from one end of town to another with a satchel and papelotes, but no one really understands her purpose.
Having an outsider, a Peruvian nonetheless, come into town and to see these connections so clearly made me realize that maybe I am seen as more than that. You know, Peace Corps is a pretty thankless job. Sometimes (a lot of times) you work your ass off creating a project or a presentation, and no one shows up. Some days you get asked, "Hey, what is it exactly you do?" by people you work with. Or, if you're me, at the end of the school year after fighting tooth and nail to keep the Pasos Adelante group afloat, the director who turned it down time and time again asks, "What is this Pasos Adelante group?" It makes you wonder if it matters that you're here at all.
When my RC and I got to the health post the OB was with a patient, so he took a phone call outside while I waited. And as I was standing in the hallway of the health post, like I had so many days that year waiting to make plans with the my socia, I started to cry.
It is the year I come home, and the year I leave another home. The only thing I can do is enjoy every moment as it comes and appreciate it for what it is, because while I may be able to visit in the future, I can never return to this experience.
Bring it on 2013!