Note: I apologize for the title, but I just couldn't resist. It's one of my favorite movies of all time.
I remember hearing a long time ago that readjusting to life after Peace Corps is the toughest part of the Peace Corps experience and I'm beginning to think whoever said that might be right.
I have four months left in Uganda and that terrifies me. It's almost as if this experience has come full circle. I remember finding out that I was going to Uganda in mid-June of 2009, and leaving 6 weeks later. During those 6 weeks, I was always wishing time could just slow down a little; I wanted to savor those last 6 weeks as much as possible. And of course, hoping that time would stretch out only meant that it went by extra fast. And now, I find myself in the same exact position. This time, I have four months left and I feel this earnest desire to make every last day here count, somehow.
I find myself scared just like I was when I left for Peace Corps. When I left for Peace Corps, there was so many things to be afraid of. What if I don't like where they place me? What if I don't make any friends? What if I am extremely isolated? What if I miss my friends and family too much? What if I'm just not up to the challenge? Now I'm afraid all over again, just this time, I have a new set of fears. What if can't re-adapt to the fast pace of the Western world? What if I miss Uganda too much? Or, will I try to greet everyone and creep people out?
Peace Corps is a profound experience and it affects and changes people to various degrees. For me, I've changed so much in the last year, particularly the last 6 months, that it's hard for me to even remember what I was like before I came here. It would be a long blog if I told you every way in which Peace Corps has changed me, but what I can say is that in Uganda, I think I smile more. I think I am more open to new experiences than I have ever been. But most of all, I'm the happiest I've ever been in my life.
I know. That's quite the statement. But it's true. I've never felt more stable, nor more up for the challenges that life has to throw at me than I do now. What is it about being here? I really don't know.
I've pondered the possibilities...Like maybe having less makes me appreciate things more. Or, maybe not having the crazy work mentality that we have in the States help? Or, maybe I've just grown up a bit. It's probably a little bit of everything. But, truth be told, I don't know why I am so happy here.
What I do know, is that I am afraid of losing that happiness and losing that positive attitude that I worked so hard to hone.
There's so much to be afraid...And sometimes it's seemingly silly things that I find myself sad about, like, how can I leave my soccer team? Who will I kid around with every evening, if not them?
Leaving is a scary endeavor. But I guess I have to just handle it the way I handled coming to Uganda – By keeping the bigger picture in mind, doing it even though I am scared, and hoping for the best.