Monday, August 8, 2011

The Bug

A big thing we think and talk about here (especially now that the 14ers are a few months away from their COS) is how it will be to adjust back to life in the States. And since I was just back in June I know firsthand how overwhelming it is, even after just 9 months away. We’re not just on some long vacation over here and can be quite cut off from news, entertainment and the changes in technology, fashion and “what’s hot”. I had my moments of anxiety while visiting Colorado and think I handled them quite well overall, but what I hadn’t considered was how it would be to return to life in Moçambique. I figured that three weeks away wasn’t enough to cause me any stress but I was surprised by my reactions and feelings. It was hard to leave all the people I love again but I was excited to get back here and start working again. I was a bit worried about dealing with my luggage once I got back in country but overall felt good. I arrived back in Chimoio after two days of planes, trains and automobiles (and 10 hours in Frankfurt!) to a gathering of volunteers in town to plan a REDES conference that starts here in a couple days. I was so happy to see my friends again and get a chance to catch up about the last month. I was staying with a volunteer here in the city with hot running water and a comfy bed so it wasn’t like I was immediately thrown back into the mato but I woke up that first night at about 3:30am with this deep feeling of homesickness and sadness in my heart and for a second didn’t remember where I was. Just days before I had been in Colorado with all my family and now I was back across the globe feeling confused and isolated. I had trouble sleeping that first week and often found myself thinking about what I might be doing if I were still in Denver. Like clockwork, I woke up every night at 3:30 with all these conflicting emotions and struggled to get back to sleep. During the day, when I was kept busy, I was fine but during those quiet moments alone in my bed, I was really struggling. And since I’m not real great at dealing with confusing emotions, I simply threw myself into activities and books and school (I read nearly 15 books my first two weeks back thanks to my handy dandy Kindle. This by the way was the best purchase I made stateside.). For a couple days back in Dombe I questioned whether or not I could actually do this for two more years. I was down to four hours a week of teaching and had all this time on my hands and my mind just wondered to all the hard parts of life. It’s not all sunshine and rainbows out in The Dombe but I was used to it and my trip back interrupted my natural order. You’ll never hear me say I regret that trip because I would never have forgiven myself if I missed that valuable time with my family but it was an awkward time to leave. But something we talked a lot about in PST was resiliency and this was my first big test. I wrote in my journal and in e-mails to friends, kept reading like a madman and made sure I spent time everyday outside the house and with friends. And slowly I adjusted back to the slow pace of life in the mato. I finished the trimester and proctored an absurd amount of exams (my Kindle helped me through those moments as well) before venturing out again for some PC related conferences. And now? Sometimes it’s seems like I never went back to Colorado. It seems so far away now that I’m re-immersed into my “real life” but now I can look at the pictures and remember the funny moments without getting sad and just appreciate the experience.

it was hard to leave these loons

And a brief update of other events: I took part in a programming conference in Chimoio with fellow PCVs and our Mozambiquen counterparts (and by take part I mean I spent two days in bed with a stomach virus), visited my wonderful friend Amanda at her site in Angonia in Tete province, become a Glee fanatic and watched both seasons in just over two days, had a semi-scary encounter with some Malawi immigration officers, was selected for our Peer Support Network and flew to Maputo for some well-paced, warm and fuzzy type training (think happy notes, massage circles and lots of talking about our feelings and experiences) and then returned to Chimoio for the tail end of our REDES (Raparigas Em Desenvolvemento, Educação e Saude) conference. Everything was a smashing success and now I’m preparing to head back to site to start the third trimester. We’re closing in on our one year in country mark (my group arrived at the end of September last year) and I am having trouble wrapping my head around that idea especially because it means my friends from Moz14 will be leaving in a couple months. I suppose us 15ers will have to step up and be the “cool, experience PCVs”. I should start working on that.

With two of my students and my
counterpart at Feira da Ciencias

Cabeca do Velho near Chimoio

The Bug - Dire Straits (Thank you for laying it out for us Mark Knopfler)


  1. What can I say? Only that I love you so much and hope you spend equal time as the "windshield" this next year!

  2. So...the music you heard as a kid serves you well again!

    Seriously, your private side may not always serve you well out there, but it is a strength: you can wait, listen and watch longer before you commit; that's good!

    'Sides, we'll give you all the phone minutes you want to tell us what's up: we love to hear you talk!

    Love, Dad