15 August 2011

The End Has No End

The final trimester has begun! Summer is coming around again and Mozambique is slowly warming up. I'm making packing lists and getting things ready for the next volunteer. Everything in our lives is leading up to our homecoming in another two months. We will be leaving Mozambique in the third week of October and I should hopefully be home just before my 26th birthday. Words can't express how happy I will be to be home for my birthday; the prospect of spending three birthdays in Mozambique was dreary at best. After spending a weekend with family, I'm flying back to NYC to spend a week with Erica, where we'll pamper ourselves, get haircuts and buy new clothes that aren't threadbare from handwashing. These efforts will be preemptive actions to prevent hearing, "You were in the Peace Corps? I could see that."
We have a few more events to squeeze in before saying our goodbyes. I finally made it back to Namaacha to visit my host family this weekend, which was nice. Our first ever National Science Fair will take place in Beira in another week, and things are finally coming together. It will be nice to have an opportunity to make it up to central Mozambique, because with our teaching schedules, we haven't done as much traveling in Mozambique as we'd hoped (this country is huge, and I haven't made it past the southern region since training). My brother and sister-in-law will come to Mozambique in September, and I am thrilled to have one last beach vacation before heading home, especially since Erica and I were sick and didn't get to do any traveling during our week-long trimester break. Hopefully we'll get together with our nearby PCVs for one last get-together in Xai-Xai, and then we'll be packing up our things and our animals, homeward bound!
Thankfully, I think I can say that I'll be leaving Mozambique with few regrets; I wish I would have taken more pictures of my colleagues and students during the first year, I regret not eating more mangoes during the last mango season (neighborhood kids stole all of ours), I wish I would've practiced violin more often, I regret not writing letters this year (postage prices tripled), and I would have liked to spend more time with some PCV friends, particularly those that are already stateside. But, c'est la vie, assím é a vida. So it goes. On the flip side, I learned how to play guitar, did some drawing and painting, baked a cake every Wednesday, read 57 books (and counting), made several pieces of clothing by hand, and formed rewarding relationships with colleagues, neighbors, and students. After two years here, I think that's a respectable assessment.

Things I am looking forward to at home (in no particular order):
  • hot showers and baths
  • cheese and milk
  • ice cream!
  • not feeling like I've narrowly escaped disaster every time I step out of a motor vehicle
  • white Christmas
  • celebrating holidays with friends and family
  • Target
  • coffee
  • public radio
  • fun restaurants
  • snack food, granola bars, and breakfast cereal
  • not having a trail of children asking me for candy and money when I leave the house
  • not having a group of children hollering for candy and crayons when I'm in the house
  • punctuality and accountability
  • playing piano (and on occasion, the accordion)
  • having more than two friends nearby
  • leaving the house past 6 PM
  • having things to do past 6 PM
  • not needing to do sweeping cockroach extermination on a regular basis
  • watching media on something other than a 10-inch laptop screen
Little things I'll miss:
  • the occasional lost chicken that waltzes into the house and sets the dogs into a frenzy
  • walking through the beautiful, underdeveloped matu for 40 minutes every day on my way to and from school
  • the vibrant colors--rust sand, sky blue, verdant fruit trees
  • having ample free time
  • feeling comfortable with silence and utter inactivity
  • fresh papaya, mango, passionfruit, pineapple, tangerines, oranges, coconuts, and... all of the other yummy fruits that don't even have names in English
  • brushing my teeth under the stars every night
    And here's a brief look back, a few pictures from the last few months that fill in some of the gaps:  my boyfriend serenading Erica and the dogs on her birthday (he doesn't actually play the guitar); my students tearing it up with a cultural dance; a woman in the market selling papayas the size of basketballs; Erica cooking by headlamp on a night with no electricity (my headlamp bit the dust--I unfortunately dropped it in the latrine); my Geração Biz students performing their theater piece; three of my students who dropped by for a visit.


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