No pictures, sorry. It´s going to be a boring entry. But as for an update, I can tell the story of my Close of Service Conference.
First of all, it takes place in an all-inclusive resort. As you all know, nothing about my service thus far has been all-inclusive. Nothing. No part is soft and cushiony, cool and relaxed, nor tastey and indulging. Nor is it very comfortable at times, but it feels right none-the-less in a very strange sort of way (probably because I`ve been doing it for the past 2 years). Now, take a group of people living like myself and place them in the pinnacle of luxury and what do you get? Initial smiles followed quickly by comments like, ¨Well, the food isn`t all THAT great.¨ ¨The pool is awfully chlorinated.¨ ¨I feel like I´m gonna puke, I ate so much ice cream.¨ ¨The ocean looks like this place´s sewage tank.¨ ¨I think the air conditioning is giving me a cold.¨ ¨The down comfortors make me sweat at night.¨
Do these sound like happy people to you? There we were living the ¨American Dream¨ if I may use the cliché despite being in Nicaragua, and nobody was any happier than they were living in their 2-room houses, some with dirt floor, pigs living in the back yard, no privacy, hot tin roofs, sleeping on hard beds under mosquito nets, and eating a less-than-ideal diets. So while many people would disagree, I say give me a tent and a backpack any day and I´ll have a great vacation. I´ll pass on the all-inclusive-resort (be it on land or a boat).
Making the ¨vacation¨ even more disappointing was the fact that we were in meetings from 8am-5pm. The meetings didn´t do much more than stress me out about going home. How am I going to say goodbye to people I´ve been living with for the past 2 years who I may never see again other than during 2-week vacations every few years? How am I going to get rid of all my stuff, and what of it do I give away or sell, and to who? What job will I get when I go home? Where will I live after the initial stay with my parents? How will I explain to loved ones what these past 2 years have meant to me? And when they ask ¨How was the Peace Corps?¨ and expect a four-word answer? Then what do I say?
With all these questions going through my head, I`m having a hard time focusing on the reports I still have to write, the classes I still have to give, and the visits I still have to make to other volunteers. Wish me luck as I try to live as much in the moment without suffocating in the stress that seems to want to over-take me! Hopefully I can keep this updated with pictures, but if not, look for me on US soil, and ask to see my pictures. You´ll become my instant best friend!