I’ve definitely been going back and forth a lot recently between being severely homesick and then loving the hell out of this place. Days like this, where I wake up whenever I want (or whenever rasta boyfriends need to get hold of their girlfriends who don’t have working phones so I have to play messenger), experiment with making yummy milkshakes, and then take three-hour long walks on the beach while hanging with friends, remind me just how much I love this place. Seriously, I don’t think I could be in the more perfect place for this particular moment in my life, as cliché as that sounds. I just need the pace and the whole mentality of Jambiani right now. I need to be able to joke with the boys about how rubbish my Swahili is; to give the Masaais a hard time about how hard they try and pump mzungus to buy their jewelry; to see the smiling faces of the kids as they shout your name while you’re walking around the village; to just sit in the sand and read a book, thinking about absolutely nothing.
With that all being said, that doesn’t mean that I don’t have days where I desperately want to go home, just so I can have a large glass of cold, skim milk (oh my God, that with a warm Christmas cookie right out of the oven? Yes, please!) or just so that I can text a friend something insanely stupid after a night out and have it not cost a trillion dollars. It’s really hard to explain – I feel like a giant pendulum going from one extreme to the other. And not being able to articulate why this experience of being away from home has been more trying than any others is maddening as well. I just can’t do it. I’ve been away from my friends and family for longer than four months – um, hello, Edinburgh? – so why is this time so difficult? I can’t even begin to tell you how many times I’ve been doing ordinarily mundane things during a day and then had an incredibly vivid flash of something/someone in Chicago or at home. I’m going to be an optimist and say that I’m like this because I’m missing my family and friends at this festive time of year, as opposed to me not being able to handle the separation. Gotta knuckle down and toughen up before good ol’ Kyrgyzstan comes my way.
Speaking of Kyrgyzstan, oh, the Peace Corps and I are going to have some good times with one another, I can tell. Luckily, my trip to Dar and the US Embassy wasn’t a COMPLETE waste, as my application has been sent off (barely) for my new passport. However, the visa I need for Kyrgyzstan is proving to be the problem, one that no one can really tell me a definitive answer on how to solve said dilemma. And, of course, since we’re America, everything’s now shut for the holidays until 29 December. YES. I either get to a) go to Pretoria, South Africa and find a Kyrgyzi (seriously, what the hell is the shortened version of this country’s name?!) embassy and do it there, b) wait until I get back to the States in the middle of February and just do it while I’m visiting DC – however that brings everything quite close to the deadline of my departure date, never a good thing – or c) somehow come up with another option that doesn’t require me to come back to the States early and do it there. Never a dull moment, huh?
OH! Guys, seriously, pay attention. So, I’m reading this book (it’s number 10, so far), called Night Train to Lisbon. The copy which I’m reading is actually quite rubbish – isn’t the whole point of an editor that you don’t have any typos?! I mean, come on! – but parts of it have really made me stop, put the book down, and really think about what I’ve just read. One of the lines that has really gotten to me is this one: ‘Given that we can live only a small part of what there is in us – what happens with the rest?’ RIGHT?! How awesome is that? Like, of all the decisions we make day after day, what happens to those paths that we don’t take? And if we turned back time to take that other path, would we still turn out the same people? I don’t know, this is just the silly stuff I think about when I have no vols here to look after. Haha.
And because I’m feeling quite type-y, I am now going to make you all suffer through a list of things I miss the most right now. You’ll more than likely laugh/roll your eyes at some, if not all, of these things, but deal with it.
- FRIENDS AND FAMILY – Obvious. I cleaned out my iPhoto library over the past few days and God, have we had some amazing times. I miss each and every one of you like it’s my JOB.
- SKIM MILK – Seriously, powdered milk just doesn’t cut it when you need to make yourself a proper cup of tea or coffee.
- TWIZZLERS – Lavy, you need to cut it with the reminders about these things. I actually salivate when you mention them.
- MAC & CHEESE – As juvenile as it sounds, I could go for a box of good ol’ Kraft right now. Ri, get it ready for DC.
- DECENT BEER – Love me some Kili, but Meleeny, you’ve gotta hook a sister up when I come home.
- DOCTOR WHO – I’m actually crying on the inside because I’m missing the Xmas special. And the fact that I read Russell T Davies behemoth of a book about his experiences writing the show (it was actually fascinating!) doesn’t help.
- SNOW – Yeah, not kidding. I know I’m more than likely going to get my fair share in Kyrgyzstan, but I could definitely go for a pile of snow right now.
- A PHONE THAT DOESN’T DRIVE ME NUTS – After my BlackBerry was nicked, I got a replacement phone. It works, which is really all I need it to do, but it drives me mental; it’s rubbish!
- CLOTHES – I was tired of the clothes I packed about two weeks into this whole ordeal. Haha. I would pretty much give my right arm for a pair of flats or Chucks, skinny jeans, another of my t-shirts, and one of my cardigans. Yes, please.
- TURKEY – When you go both Thanksgiving and Christmas without havin’ a giant turkey, something is wrong. Plus, where’s the fun of it when you can’t chuck the carcass out a second story window? ;)
- GUM – No jokes. It gives you that little kick of sugar and helps the oral fixation.
- BEN & JERRY’S – Cookie Dough, Half Baked, Brownie whatever. YES.
- ITALIAN FOOD – Pesto pasta, bruschetta, fettuccini alfredo, breadsticks. Basically, a trip to Olive Garden is in order for whomever wants to come. Fab 4?
- PINKY’S – You better bet your bottom dollar that I’m going to stock up on these when I hit NZ in February. Kathryn, get ready. Or be prepared to send me packages to Kyrgyzstan. Haha.
- HAWKS GAMES – No matter how shit they may or may not be doing right now, there’s nothin’ like being at the Madhouse on Madison.
I’m sure there are other things, but my brain is quite content at the moment (either that or it just doesn’t want to work).
Missing you all and wishing you the very merriest of Christmases. Enjoy your family time and know I’m thinking of you! And if you don’t hear from me before the New Year, have a BLAST! Have a shot for me (Disney peeps in Chi!) and ring in the best 2011!
PS – as long as this may be, everyone needs to convince me that I need to purchase a Kindle (with what little money I have left) for my PC service. The book-nerd in me will just not go along with getting ready of physical books… Gigi, this is all you!
PPS – How’s Josh Groban’s new album?