I have officially been in America for one whole month. Home has been many things so far: comforting, confusing, wonderful, stressful, and full of dairy.
Following the surprisingly accurate culture shock graph, the first two weeks seemed like they were made of glitter, rainbows, and ice cream: I saw all of the people I so dearly missed, got lots of hugs, ate lots of food, and had a great time reacquainting myself with American amenities. For reference, cheese is a gift from God, hot showers are an example of total perfection, and there is absolutely nothing in this world like a teary-eyed reunion hug from your parents.
The next two weeks have been somewhat less euphoric. I'm happy to be home, and I love that I can call and text my best friends whenever I want. Certain things, though, seem baffling, unnecessarily stressful, and/or just really sad. I don't get why we have 24 different types of face wash at Target. Why do we spend so much time worrying about matching their shoes to their jackets and which boy Taylor Swift is currently singing about? There's apparently a hashtag* #firstworldproblems, which I really can't bring myself to look at. I guess it's good that we're self-aware enough to know that some of our problems aren't actually problems, but it's vaguely discouraging to consider how much time and energy we're wasting on those when there are bigger and more important issues we could be fixing. I'll get off my soap box now.
The other big worry point in my mind is the job search -- I hate being unproductive and not having a plan, and both of those things seem to be happening right now. I'm much happier when I've got a project, and I can't wait until I have a place, a purpose, and a goal. If anyone knows people in nonprofits in DC, please let me know.
Whew. Feels good to talk that out. I think readjustment gets easier over time, and I think mine is so far just about the same as that of all of my other Peace Corps Volunteer friends. Like everything else we've done together, we will soldier this one through and come out better, wiser people for it.
In the interest of memories and reflecting on this whole experience, here are a few of my favorite blogs and stories from the past two years (I made you a highlight reel). And with this last post, friends, I'll consider this blog complete.
- Beninisms: Talking the Talk (10.30.10)
- Holy Voodoo Baked Potatoes (4.11)
- Quick List: Best Beninese Student Sentences (4.11)
- Village Love (5.11)
- Camp GLOW 2011: The Girls and The Camp (7.11)
- Music Videos by 8th Graders (12.11)
- Half the Sky (2.12)
- The Legend of the Retracting...*ahem* (4.12)
- On Peace Corps (9.12)
*There has been a lot of technological/pop culture catching up that I've had to do. Hashtags still have me bemused, but today I've mostly figured out "YOLO", Ryan Lochte, Honey Boo Boo, the Facebook iPhone app, and how to save pins on my phone's Maps thingie.