Sunday, November 17, 2013

They say you can't do it, but I did it. I went home again. Twice.

A hot cup of apple cider. A white afghan. Blueberry muffins just out of the oven. These are the things that surround me as I write.

A year ago at this moment, I was sleeping in my American bed for the first time in quite some time. My time in the Peace Corps came to end an exactly one year ago. However, my time in Samoa did not. Oh that’s right, dear reader, I went back. Back to the place that haunted my dreams. The best thing that came from going back? Closure. Closure that wouldn’t have come without it.

When I realized it had almost been a year, I couldn’t help but think of what I was doing last year. Who I was with. What I had already done. And who had already left my life. How it all actually feels so distant.

I couldn’t help but read some of my blogs from that last year. I couldn’t help but see how confused I was about who I was. A year later, I again have found myself. And once again, I feel like a year has changed who I am.

This is the first thing I wrote in my journal when I went back to Samoa last June: "Third day in Samoa and I don't know how I'll be able to go home again. My heart is so full. It feels like I could have just been here last weekend and simultaneously I know I might never come back. This might be the most bittersweet moment of my life. This place is my home. It's like all of this isn't real; like it's just another one of my dreams, but it's also like, 'Of course you're here. You never really left. Everything in between was the dream.' And maybe that's the truth."

In the year in between I was accepted to a few grad school programs and decided to go to American University in Washington, DC, for International Peace and Conflict Resolution. However, with things as they stood in July, there was no way I could financially make grad school happen this year. So I deferred my admission and will begin grad school next year. It’s nice to cool my jets for the first time in my life.

I worked a year of odd jobs. I answered angry calls from angry people in a call center. I changed poopy diapers on poopy toddlers at a daycare. And fell in love with some of those little boogers in the process. I worked a second job as a cashier in the town I grew up in. (Who knew my local celebrity status wouldn’t change so much after leaving Samoa?) And now, a year later, I’m a reporter. So finally, writing is my career and I’m learning all the time. For the first time in my life, I have a big girl job. Not even a job, but a career.

If I hadn’t gone back to Samoa in June, it would have always been on my mind. A dream that seemed too far in the future. But going back allows you to move on.

Moving backward to move forward.
And now all that’s ahead of me is the future.