This post is long overdue, as Jacque was kind enough to point out in a text message a few minutes ago. It's hard to put into words the last few weeks here in my village, mostly because nothing has been happening and most of what's been going through my mind are feelings and reflections. All of the pictures, cards, letters, mementos and such are off my wall and the paint has been touched up. My things have either been sent home (thank you thank you thank you Rachel & Nora!) given away, burned, thrown down the latrine, will be packed up in my one little backpack, or left behind for the next inhabitant of the little teal house that somehow became my home over the last two years. Finishing Peace Corps service is strange and I'm at a loss of words for how to describe it.
I've thought a lot about extending in the past few months, more seriously than I have at any other time during my service. I think this was probably a result of a combination of things; the new principal at my college is making great changes and I'm sad that I won't be here to see them take effect, people who I've grown to truly care about have told me how much my presence means to them, I'm scared about not finding a job, having to pay exorbitant prices once again for a cell phone and fit in with American culture, and lastly I'm sure there is so much more I could do if I stayed. When all is said and done however, I'm done. Yes, it would be great to see improvements at the school, but my day to day would still be the same. I'd still be frustrated over having to wait till it stops raining and warms up a bit to go take a shower, I'd still be trotting out to the latrine any time I had to pee, and I'd still cringe every time a child screamed "Munu!!!" at me. And regardless of how much I love or hate my experience here, it wouldn't be more of the same, it'd be different. Am I completely ready to go home? No. Do I need to wait until I'm completely ready? Absolutely not. Plane tickets have been bought, plans have been made, and my mind is already sipping on something refrigerated, or perhaps even iced! That kind of momentum is really hard to stop.
In a couple of days Jacque and Stella will leave their sites and come live at my house for a few days until we all travel together to Kampala. This is entirely appropriate since my house has kind of been a catchall for those traveling to, from, or through Lira. Jacque and I spent a good seven or eight minutes one day pondering what our service would look like if we quantified it in terms of movies watched, jars of Nutella eaten, bonfires stared into, text messages sent, etc. All those inane things that ultimately made up our lives here. It's strange to think these will be the last.
Until I get back to America my life looks like this:
April 4 - 13 - laze around the village, awkward goodbyes, try to eat all the American food I haven't gotten to yet
April 14 - head down to Kampala
April 15 -17 - three day medical check up to make sure I'm not leaving with anything particularly nasty
April 18 - Peace out Uganda! Bus to Nairobi, game drive on a bike, and dinner at Carnivore (yes, there are two in the world, and I will have eaten at both of them)
April 21 - 23 - Istanbul with Jacque and Stella
April 24 - 30 - Egypt with Stella
May 1 - Egypt to Florida!
After that I'll be attending a bachelorette party in Key West, a wedding in Tampa, a graduation in Gainesville, flying to Ireland, taking a train through the UK and France to Italy, flying home, driving to Chicago, visiting North and South Carolina, moving to Boston and hopefully settling easily into a new phase of a life I love.