Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Goodbye Vanuatu

It's hard to believe it's here, but it's time to say goodbye. I've already ripped off the band-aide of leaving my village and in two days I'll be heading back to the good ol' US of A. So many thoughts and emotions come along with leaving a place you've made your home for two years: heartbreak, relief, excitement, dread, and many more. So as I reflect on my service, I mainly separate things into two groups - things I'll miss and things I will definitely not miss. You know I love making lists, so here they are:

Things I Will Miss
  • Evenings in my parents' kitchen
  • Fresh pineapples
  • Being able to take a nap anytime of day
  • The smell of laplap leaves hitting hot stones
  • Exchanging hellos with everyone I see
  • My sister and everything about her - my first, my most loyal, and my best friend in Vanuatu
  • The warmth and humidity
  • Regularly seeing sights out of National Geographic - dolphins, sea turtles, flying fish, parrots, etc.
  • Being a part of the Peace Corps family
  • Living in a country where everyone is a good dancer
  • The "Ambae Girls"
  • The rare experience of living in a foreign country where Americans are loved and respected
  • Banyan trees
  • The simplicity of life without electricity
  • The overwhelmingly lush greenness of the jungle
Things I Will NOT Miss
  • Roosters
  • Rainy season
  • My sister's cat (and kids for that matter) leaving turds outside my house everyday
  • Dirty feet
  • Cold bucket showers
  • Carrying heavy bags and cartons 2 hours uphill
  • Spiders falling on my face, rats using my clothes for nests, cockroaches getting into my food, lizards committing suicide in my wash bucket, slugs leaving trails on my dishes, and ants invading every meal
  • Having to leave my house in the middle of the night to use the toilet
  • Living under a microscope and being stared at all the time
  • Mold infestation
  • Rationing my toilet paper
  • Sexual proposals that begin with: "I've always wanted to sleep with a white girl. . ."
There's not much I can say to adequately end this adventure. It's been hard and exhilarating and life-changing. I'm so lucky to have been here and I will never forget the people who made my life here wonderful. Goodbye Vanuatu.