I will leave this place with tears streaming down my face in sadness for all the wonderful moments that I’ve spent here, but also with a heart full of love to take with me (and probably some grogue and bolacha doce, too)!
For my last CV blog entry, I decided I would reflect on all that I’ve learned in the past year. Some of the lessons are humorous, some were tough, but mostly they were just…life.
During my first year of Peace Corps service, I learned…
- To wait. And wait. And wait some more.
- To do nothing. Amazingly, going up in the Rat Race that is America-land, we are really good at getting things done but not so good at not getting things done. I’ve learned to sit and look at photos of people I don’t know for hours talking about something I don’t care about or not talking at all. It also means I’ve changed my standards for what counts as a ‘productive’ day.
- To cook a gourmet meal with whatever happens to come to market on a given day.
- To clean anything and everything with water, soap, bleach, and a sponge. This includes clothes, floors, walls, counters, shoes…you name it. Mops and brooms can be helpful, but fancy cleaning solutions are a waste of money.
- To not make plans, or at least to not be bothered by a change in plans (no matter how drastic).
- To pack for a hike through the mountains, a party at the disco, camping, a day at the beach, and whatever else might come up, in the same school-sized backpack.
- To speak Creole and Portuguese (and simplified English) and to switch back and forth between them depending on the context.
- To not be bothered when someone points out that I’ve gained weight, have a large zit on my forehead, am not as pretty or smart as my colleague, haven’t gone to the gym in 2 weeks, have worse-looking hair than I did yesterday, etc. etc.
- To have a 15 minute conversation about the fact that I’m taking a walk and you’re sitting on the sidewalk.
- To avoid the same proposition in 15 different ways, each one more creative than the last.
- To fillet, gut, scale, season, and cook fish.
- To watch a pig get slaughtered and then prepare (and eat) fresh pork (and blood sausage).
- To drain the infection from pretty much any wound or bug bite (on me or a friend) without cringing.
- To cohabitate peacefully with ants, spiders, mosquitoes, and the occasional cockroach.
- To be hot. Or cold. Or wet. Or uncomfortable. And to not really care. Everything passes eventually.
- To sleep anywhere.
- To feel at home and at peace in a place that was at one time completely foreign and terrifying to me.
Sodade, sodade, sodade des nha terra Saninclau…