So I am just going home for a brief visit to hang out with family and friends during the holiday season, but I don’t think I have ever been more excited about a vacation in my LIFE. And it’s to a place I’ve lived for 22 years. Of course, I’ll be doing new and fun things like hanging out with the boy in nyc and meeting his family, but I’ll be right back to the old and the familiar DFW metroplex after a few days.
So why am I SO excited? More than any other trip I’ve ever taken? Because I need a serious break from this Togolese life. Don’t get me wrong, I love Togo. I love my village, my house, my neighbors, the cute babies, and all the people I’ve met. Rice and beans have become a comfort food…I think I crave them more than I crave cheeseburgers now. So what’s up? Why have I been feeling blue lately? I think most of this blog has been about the amazing kick ass times I’ve had, but rarely do I ever go into if I ever feel frustrated or sad. Being a Peace Corps volunteer isn’t all about holding cute babies and sharing cultures, it can also be frustrating and eye opening.
Reason #1: I am tired of getting sick!! I’ve had more ailments here in Togo than my entire life (probably an exaggeration). Yes, part of it probably has to do with the way I take care of myself, but a lot of it has to do with the fact I’m living in Africa. A general list of maladies I have had since coming here: Colds, Food Poisoning, Malaria, Amoebas, Pink Eye, Bronchitis, Gall Stones (I’m not sure if I believe this one), and general other stomach pains that I have no explanation for other than the fact I eat street food every day...
Reason #2: Work here is hard.
I have had more failed projects here than I’d like to count. English club at 8:00AM on Saturdays? Nice try, but no way are people coming to that one. Computer Club? HA, half of the computers are broken today. A funded project that you wrote a grant for and got approved to receive funding for? Woops, your check is still somewhere in the DC vortex. Getting stuff done here is HARD! I guess the major problem is that I see so many avenues for projects, but finding the time, the resources, and the right motivated people can really just bog you down.
While this is a huge reason why I am frustrated, it’s not the end of the world. I have had some incredibly successful projects, such as starting a new science club at the middle school, the high school science club which is entirely run by students, Leve-Toi Jeune Fille, various summer camps, working on the UNITE team, etc. It has just taken some time to slow down my American-Paced attitude about work and getting things done right away.
Reason #3: I really really really miss America. I miss having privacy. I miss not hearing “WHIIITTEEE PEEAARRSSSOONN” being yelled at me once I step foot out of my door. I miss going to a grocery store where I have options. I miss going swimming. And most of all, I miss my family and friends. Life is going on with or without me in the states and that has taken a lot of adjusting to get used to.
So, I’m off to America to recharge, to get my fill of draft beers and cheeseburgers and Mexican food, to see my lovely friends and family, and to put my life here in Togo back in perspective. But after all of it, I know I’ll want to come back to Togo; I have a life here! I have a house, a cat, a best friend for a neighbor, a boyfriend, and so many amazing volunteers I love hanging out with.