Sunday, September 30, 2012

So the Journey Continues... in America.

I made it through the last few days of my PC service and arrived safely home.  For the past two months, I've been trying to catch up with friends and family, eat all sorts of delicious food, learn about American culture and get my life in order.  It's not always easy.  Somedays I really miss PC and my life overseas. Other days I'm overwhelmed by America and astounded by how easy life is here.  Here's just a few of the adjustments I've been going through over the past two months:

-Speaking English all the time....  no random Darija or Albanian because people look at like I'm crazy when I throw out a 'zwin', 'mskin', 'bzaf', 'mire', 's'ka gja' or 'ckemi'.
-Being on time, or early.  My days of getting there when I get there are over.
-Not haggling over prices.  Apparently most people want the price that is listed.  Darn.
-Separating my trash.  Hurray for recycling!
-Paying for gas.  No more grand taxis, buses or furgons for this girl.
-Laundry only takes about an hour to finish.  No more sore hands after laundry or doing laundry around the weather.  Laundry is now a piece of cake.
-FOOD!  There are so many different varieties of food everywhere.  I can get whatever I want, usually whenever I want and in most cases delivered direct to me.  Something America always does right.
-Household chores.  Dishes are also a piece of cake now thanks to the dish washer.  Dusting is required less often now that I don't live in a land of dust and sand.
-Less animals inside.  No more bug killing sprees and no surprise bugs crawling out of my shoes, bed, books, bathroom or sink.  Fabulous.
-Internet is super fast.  No more waiting a full day for a 3 minute YouTube clip to download.
-Phone service is almost always available.  Can't use that excuse anymore when someone I don't want to have my number does and constantly calls.
-Guys have boundaries.  It's no longer a world of 'Hey!  I just met you, and this is crazy, but here's my number, so call me maybe".  Thank goodness!  There are decent men out there ladies!!
-Stranger Danger.  And not just with children.  Apparently not every person I walk by wants to talk to me.  Fine, be like that.
-Prices.  Did you know that a can of soda in America is almost always at least a dollar?  And clothes are usually more than a dollar.  And rent is more than a hundred dollars??  Talk about sticker shock.
-Driving.  It feels so good to drive again but apparently there are rules about how we should drive and you can't just drive wherever you want or however fast you would like.
-Technology.  Yes I've upgraded to a Mac Air and an iphone since being home but I still don't understand them very well.  I'm learning though.
-Marital Status.  It's so nice to not be judged anymore when I tell people I'm 25 and not married and I don't have kids yet.  I tell people that here and they tell me, "You're young!  You have plenty of time."  Thank goodness.
-Media.  News is kinda sad.  And politicians play dirty.  But at least you can find out both sides if you want to.
-Downloading.  Note to self: no more downloading!!  Wait for it to come on Netflix or watch it on tv when it airs.
-Life after the sun goes down.  Not everything closes when the sun sets.  Quite a bit of activity starts with the sunset.  The nights still young at 10 pm!
-Clothes.  So many pretty clothes.  So many skanky clothes.  So much skin to show.  So little time.
-Work.  My job is now 9-5.  Who came up with these hours and when's nap time???!!!

It's been an interesting few months.  I have many awkward moments.  I've laughed at myself to many times to count and I've been laughed at just as much.  I've accidentally started speaking in Darija and Albanian several times.  I've tried to haggle down prices without success.  Small children have had to show me how to operate my phone and other technology.  Every minute of it has been a blast.  I miss my life with PC but I'm slowly starting to re-build my life here.  It's not always easy but I end up spending most of my days laughing so I count that as success.

Stamping out of PC Morocco!

To my fellow PCV's who are about to come home; don't worry, don't stress out and have fun!  Enjoy your remaining time in your communities and try to say good-bye to as many people as you can.  Don't worry about packing.  If you leave it there, you can buy it in America!  It's not going to be a walk in the park to feel normal again once you get here, but you're going to have so many great stories to tell.  People will be interested in what you have experienced but don't be surprised if they get sick of hearing "This one time in Morocco....".  So, take pictures, drink some mint tea and dance your heart out.  Leaving country doesn't mean you're done being a PCV.  Once you're a PCV, you're a PCV for life.

RPCV Morocco 2010 - 2012

RPCV Albania 2008 - 2010