Friday, May 9, 2014

Saying Goodbye

Welp, this is it I guess. I am not sure if I can call it the end because, while it sounds cliché, this experience will be with me forever. Whether you want it to or not, it is not something that you can’t just shake off and forget about, though I did have plenty of days that I wished that I could have!
My last week at site was about as perfect as you could imagine. I had a lot of quality family time, I was able to say goodbye to countnerparts throughout Velingara and everything actually fit in my suitcase. It was horrible saying goodbye to the people that I called family for the past two years; heartbreaking saying goodbye to the kids, especially since the younger ones didn't understand why I was leaving and nearly impossible saying goodbye to my host mother. She took me in quicker than I would have thought and was by my side the entire two years. I will always have a place for her in my heart and will be forever grateful for the experiences that she has given me! 
The last week that I had in Dakar was comprised of paperwork and downtime. We had to be at the office Monday thru Wednesday to make sure that we didn’t have any loose ends with admin- about 10 signatures from various administrative officials were needed and three informal interviews with senior staff. My boss (APCD in PC lingo) said that he was more than happy with all the work that I did and asked if I was sure that I didn’t want to stay one more year. Honestly a part of me thought about it but remembered all the reasons why I am leaving (such as the I should probably get a job someday thing). While the last week was flattering and it was nice to have lunch with staff to say our goodbyes, it felt good to have everything taken care of so we could just enjoy our last day and a half in Senegal, which is where the tattoos came in. I am still sticking to the story that had the only tattoo shop in Dakar not been directly in front of the house that I was staying at then I probably would have never gotten one but with convenience and pure boredom comes spontaneity! Alexx, Karen and myself got the ever so popular “Peace Only” greeting in our respective languages, mine being Pular. They are really cute and we all got them same font, just in different spots. It will forever remind me of Senegal.
So what is the first thing that I bought once getting off the continent you may ask? Well, a tomato, mozzarella and basil sandwich with an Arizona Ice Tea I would tell you! Sitting here, blogging, eating my snack, it almost feels like I was never in Senegal. It is strange, and scary, how quickly I can already feel myself bouncing back to “old life,” something so simple that I had wanted for so long and now that it is here it feels just normal.
My grandmother wearing my sunglasses!
Random thought:  I enjoy blasting music and zoning out while I write and while pondering what I should talk about without completely boring you the song “Perfectly Lonely” by John Mayer came on and it could not be more accurate than how I am feeling now, and not just now as in sitting by myself in an expensive café at an airport but, in life. Finishing Peace Corps, not really having a destination and nobody holding me back from where I am supposed to end up is almost too thrilling! Hopefully someday soon I will either get sick of the thrill that I get from traveling or I will have to actually find a job to support this habit.

I am currently sitting in the Charles de Gaulle airport in Paris. Sad, free and relieved are just a few of the feelings that I have at the moment. It was about as sad as you could imagine saying goodbye to all of the wonderful people that I had just built a life with the last couple of years, though I was lucky enough to have Marsha and Alexx on my first flight. Free comes to mind because while I have an loose itinerary for the next couple of months it is inevitably up to me as far as where I end up and what I end up doing. Relieved that my time in Senegal was a success and I am now able to move on to the next step. 
I still have two flights remaining and honestly it is going to be a little difficult; now is the time I am trying to tell myself that if I was able to ride squished in the back of a car for 12 hours without air conditioning or personal space that this plane that they refer to as a minibus, which holds at least 81 rows, refreshments and tv will be a piece of cake. Plus the detail worth mentioning that at the end of this I have my parents, friends and family waiting.
I guess with random mixed thoughts comes a random mixed blog post so this is fitting. Thank you again Senegal for everything and America, get ready for the new me!



Janice McInerney said...

Wherever you end up, connect with the local RPCV group. They'll understand your "perfectly lonely" feeling. Welcome home!!


A French Connection Copyright © 2011 -- Template created by O Pregador -- Powered by Blogger