Last week I celebrated my first full year in my village (when I say celebrated I mean I made myself a cake and ate the whole thing for dinner) and since then I have been trying to find the words to put in this blog. At first I thought I’d just write a normal post giving updates about everything that’s been going on and then throw in the fact that it’s been a year, but I felt that wouldn’t be sufficient. Then, I thought I’d write about the “x” number of things that I’ve learned about myself/Tanzania/life in general since being here buuuuuuuttttt, I couldn’t come up with any. I’ve learned loads but it’s one of those things that when you try to think about it you can’t seem to come up with anything. So that left me with just writing about how I feel I guess. 🤷🏼♀️ So here it is:
On April 23rd of last year I was dropped off at what has now been my home for the past 12 months, as I stood on my porch and watched the car pull away all I could think was, ”holy shit you’re all alone now.” Growing up an only child you would think this would be no problem although, it turns out, being alone isn’t something I enjoy all the much.
I spent those first few days cleaning and arranging my home, trying to stay busy. For many of the weeks that followed it was a constant battle of trying to hype myself up to leave my home but instead being defeated by the crippling fear of what people will say or how they will treat me; falling victim to my lack of self-confidence and negative thoughts. I found that maybe I am a little more introverted then I thought I was. At this same time I was starting to lose contact with people back home; some because their lives just got busy (contrary to my own selfish beliefs, people can’t just hangout by their phone waiting for me to call) and others because our lives were just going in different directions.
I felt lost and lonely.
I put so much pressure on myself to try and be a certain way and do certain things that were just not possible for me at the time. Before coming here I read so many article that talked about spending your first year integrating, getting to know your community, practicing the language, understand where you fit into their equation. Then, the second year, after you are more aware of what’s going on, start focusing on projects.
But I thought my service would be different, so I tried to do things different, and that’s where I went wrong.
Thinking back on all these thing that were just one year ago, seems now like a lifetime has passed. I realize now that my service IS different because it’s mine and mine alone however, I’ll always share many of my experiences with other people because I’m not the first person to have ever done this. I’ve since reconnected with a few people from home as we’ve figured out how to make time for each other; to be there for each other even from this great distance. I’ve since found a new respect for my growing confidence and I try much harder now to keep my thought positive. I am thankful for the relationships that I have made here, both Tanzanian and American, as I believe they are truly what this experience is about. It may have taken me some time to find them but all I have is time here, right?
This weekend I am headed to Dar for Mid-Service Training (MST). It’s blowing my mind how far I have come from this time last year and how much has change both in my life and with me personally. The months following this training will be hectic both with peace corps and with preparing to make decisions as to what my path is going to be after I finish with peace corps this next year. I also have a fun little trip planned with some exciting guests after MST, so keep a look out for that blog coming at the end of May!
The pictures in this blog are a random mix of a grassroots camp I did a couple weeks back, some updates on my garden, and a little Idaho surprise I happened to notice walking down the street the other day! Enjoy!