Written June 2016...
It's a funny thing to miss something before it's even over. The preemptive nostalgia for my Peace Corps service in Paraguay has started to hit hard as I wrap up my classes and events, handover my knowledge to the new volunteer already living in my site and say goodbye to friends knowing that it may be the last moment we share for a long while.
Peace Corps has been two years of momentary highs and lows, but looking back on it all the experience has been so good. And I still have time to make a few more memories. One of which, recently was my third birthday in Paraguay. I don't know how I got so lucky, but my birthday celebrations here have been nothing less than epic. A surprise party in my training community, a crazy 3 day celebration for my 30th complete with compañeros, a list of 30 birthday dares and bowling in Argentina, and this year a rock show. This was not your normal rock show, I was actually in it, playing the bass and channeling my inner Bowie by singing Ziggy Stardust on stage. Did that actually happen?! I swear, Peace Corps gives you the liberty and courage to do things unimaginable. Maybe it's because you're already so far outside of your comfort zone that doing a backflip off the cliff seems totally reasonable if you have to jump anyway. Or maybe it's because the support system of fellow volunteers, Paraguayan friends and adopted family is so strong you know there will always be enough hands waiting to catch your fall.
I have been thoroughly humbled and empowered during my time here, and at this moment feel profoundly grateful for the chance I've had to be accepted into the homes and hearts of so many amazing people. I often wonder why I have chosen a life that takes me away from friends and family, landing in strange places with unfamiliar cultures and languages. Then I leave the once strange place with new friends, family and a sense of home, struggling to return to a place where I thought home was to begin with.
I think that maybe through opening and closing this cycle several times now that I realize the key is taking home with you. I'm meant to find friends and family in many places, in many cultures, in many languages. I am thankful to have the opportunity to carry so many people's stories, struggles and love with me and in turn to leave my impression on so many hearts.
So now what? Another beginning fed by a bittersweet end, that can never really be distinguished from one or the other. I'll flow into the next adventure and for now dream of what could be and enjoy the last of what I have now, instead of feeling sad for a door that hasn't closed quite yet.