Monday, January 25, 2010

extended vacation

I’m finally writing about my holidays at home. I've named this post "extended vacation" because yes, I did spend more time than I planned in the U.S. but also because my mind sort of still feels like it's on vacation. Just about every aspect of my vacation was absolutely amazing. As most of you probably already know, Elliott proposed. It was such a sweet moment in the French quarter and my engagement ring is so beautiful. I honestly couldn’t have dreamed up a better moment than that one. A couple of people have asked me to write about the particulars of making a long distance relationship work. But honestly, I have no trade secrets. I’m just lucky that I’m with someone who wants it to work as much as I do. If I can give advice, it would be this: don’t let the odds discourage you but at the same time, accept the idea that long distance might not work out. Either way, if Peace Corps is something you want to do, by all means, take that chance.

While at home, I got to see friends and family I haven’t seen since June 2008 (which is everyone isn’t it?). Most of my friends have new houses, new significant others, and new jobs. Just about all of them have Iphones, which seem to be their 2nd significant others. No offense guys but I was surprised how the awkward American social barrier got even wider with the invention of this gadget. I was happy to see that my best friends are the same people I remember and it was really easy hanging out with them. It was odd, however, to see how some of my family members acted around me. It was as though they didn’t know what to make of me. I was happy to see all of them, of course, but I was sad to feel like I didn’t recognize some of my own family. And I don’t mean I didn’t physically recognize them. Apparently this last year and a half has been hard on some of you guys. I only hope it gets better.

I got stuck in New York for 4 days since I missed my flight to Casablanca. Luckily, Lauren was there to rescue me. She even lent me warm clothes.  It’s been years since I last saw her. We caught up, talked about Cajun food, and she showed me the city. We watched Avatar in 3D! It’s odd how I got stuck there but was it serendipity? I owe you one, Orange.

Now, I’m back in the village. Readjusting to life in Cameroon has been sort of strange. When I wanted to find a new phone charger in Yaounde that first day back, I walked through the market, getting hissed and yelled at. I didn’t miss that at all. It’s impossible to blend in here. It was nice being able to drive to Best Buy with no one paying any attention to me. I also really enjoyed going to the grocery store whenever I wanted. I could think of absolutely anything I wanted for dinner and Elliott and I would get the food we needed and voila, dinner would be ready in a matter of an hour or so. In Cameroon, if you get a craving for something like meatloaf (which happens to me all the time) you have to plan days ahead, usually making a trip for ground meat. None of us have ovens, either, so we have to find other ways to bake things. Oh! And it was nice not having to hand-wash my clothes. However, there are some things about Cameroon I missed. I missed how peaceful it is in my village. I never feel like I don’t have the time to do things I want to do here. I missed my cat, Gumbo and I even missed my students and their enthusiasm. I have less than 5 months here and though I’m excited to get home and plan a wedding, there’s no denying that I’ll miss it here.


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