And... where might that be?
Disclaimer: Today is probably not the best of days for me to be writing, but I decided to forge on and allow a brief glimpse into that other side of life for a Peace Corps volunteer that is oh so hard to explain, albeit equally as important as the laughing, getting suntanned, swinging in hammocks all day side. After an amazing two week trip back home to Ohio I find myself in a haze. They tell you the "what the heck am I doing here" moments will come and go, but having them at a time when I could still smell my mom's perfume on my shirt, still see my dad's great big smile chuckling at me, still feel the soft skin of my best friend's son on my shoulder, and still hear my niece and nephew laughing at nothing I have to wonder if I can shake this one.
Think positive, think positive. Ok, here it goes, but I can pretty much guarantee this is going to take a turn into that indescribable land of clutter brain that is the Peace Corps life. Please bear with me. My trip home, ahh, my trip home. From the moment I left my little town until the moment I landed back 3 pounds heavier from the all the Reese's Cups I smuggled everything was bliss. My best friend with her beautiful one year old son who I had never met along with my mother and brothers met me at the airport and there it is was, the life I had left behind. I found it just as I had left it (other than the few extra human beings who had arrived into the world since I left). Everything just picked up where I had left it. I kid you not, just about every single person I spent time with said "It feels like you never left". I'm not sure what I was expecting. The horror stories of volunteers going home and feeling abandoned and like a freakish outsider danced in the back of my head during my first year. What if we don't have anything to talk about anymore? What if I feel differently about something that was commonplace for me before? What if the people I love the most don't feel like they know who I am anymore? Nonsense I say, nonsense. The only problem I had adjusting to my old life was not having enough time, and even that I managed like any red blooded American, with lots of Starbucks. My voice literally went out on me from spreading my stories and experiences. This was the only hint that I had gone anywhere. I never tired of all of the open arms and hearts from people at my Dad's doctors' offices, to all of the wonderful people at Heinen's and my dear friends from Greater Cleveland Volunteers who follow my life and have genuine concern and interest. I never really knew life was that good until I stepped away from it for a minute and came back. With that, I now must go back from where I came, for another year.
My heart is not heavy from this, on the contrary, I feel more light and free here than anywhere in the world. Dun, dun, dunnnnn. Enter the huge "but" you all knew was coming. With the pleasant northeast breeze of Ohio nipping my back I landed, as did the drops of sweat to the ground from my brow. Seriously, I am melting. So I call the hotel (and by hotel I mean a room in someone's house) to pick me up. No he says, we don't pick up from the airport. Fine, I will just have a taxi take me from here, I say. Wait he says, are you a Peace Corps volunteer? Why, yes, as a matter of fact I am. He says, I will come get you for $10, those guys will rip you off big time. Now to the average optimist this seems like a great turn out, right? Well it is, for Honduras. In my own country I would have friends to come get me, or a car to drive freely, or know the public transportation system well enough to get myself wherever I needed to go, at my own control. In the states $10 is lunch at Panera, here it is about 4% of my monthly income. Ahh, this relativity thing is really a mind boggler.
At least I had a not so warm welcoming from an unexpected friend when I returned, at my very own house in fact. My friend Oscar and I entered my house and I went straight to the kitchen to put some food away. Jessica, come here my friend said. Hang on, I am doing something I reply. No, Jessica, seriously, come here he says. Writhing in the door jam was a creamy yellow slithering snake which had apparently followed our steps into my house and when the door shut an ear piercing crunch led Oscar's eyes to the door jam, where he introduced me to our newest houseguest. In typical girl fashion first I shrieked, then I jumped up and down on each foot like I was playing a terrifying game of hopscotch, then I ran. My very manly Honduran friend grabbed a large rock, which normally serves as a door stop and, in a very "me protect Jane" fashion started taking stabs at the cold blooded creature's head. Just as he landed a good blast a scorpion ran across my path as if to say "Ha ha, you can never get us all!". Another shriek and hoppity skip later both invaders were slain. Funny now? Sure. Just oh so far away from another life.
The pressure had been building, in my chest that is. Literally as soon as I landed in Honduras, I wrote it off as the immense climate change. That and the weight of my own expectations suffocating me. Oh, and the anxiety from the thought of not having another Iced Carmel Macciato for another year. Worse and worse it got. Before I knew it I was hacking up colors of the rainbow one should never see in phlem. This brings me to a cultural breakthrough as well as an upper resipratory infection diagnosis. It is very customary here to hauk up whatever goop that ails you from within and spit. Out a car window, out your front door, on the floor of the municipality, wherever nature calls. Eeww! Disgusting! How could anyone? Well, they can and should, I now feel their pain. I don't know if it's the dust, the burning garbage or the exhaust that leaves you hacking in the busses path, but it is real and necessary. If there were a group on Facebook I would be a fan, I Hauk Loogies! Who am I kidding, I am sure there is one. Oh, and by the way, I had to Google both "hauk" and "loogies" for the correct spelling. That brought up some interesting results.
Yes, these experiences give me great fodder for my new found vehicle of expression, but under the humor there is confusion. How is it that this experience feels like the most wonderful love I have ever experienced while all the while stitches of the most intense loneliness on the planet are sewn throughout? I am struggling. Maybe the reason I have come here was simply to give me the courage to utter those three little words. I could never muster the strength before now.
Deyra Moves to the Dorms!
11 months ago