Actually I’m dying; my heart is dying knowing that I will be leaving here in just 2 short weeks. If you would have asked me even just one year ago if I would be sad when it came time to leave I probably would have shrugged my shoulders and said something like, “ehh, maybe, we’ll see”, all the while thinking, damn I wish I could use the internet in my house. They say you always appreciate something more when you know the end is near and although I do believe that‘s true, I also believe that this second year has been the biggest growing period for me and I have been more appreciative for this experience and everything it has brought me. It’s hard to process that all the effort I’ve put into forging relationships will be quickly coming to a close.
When I was first leaving the states to come to Tanzania I was very sad; thinking about things I would be missing at home, milestones in loved ones lives I wouldn’t be around, animals I would be snuggling up to for the last time, it all made me wonder if this experience would be worth it. But I knew that after 27 month (or 39 if I would have extended) I would be packing my bags and making my way back; yes things may be different but none the less I would be back and I would readjust and move forward with life in the states again. But thinking about leaving Tanzania has just hit me differently.
Two years is not a lifetime, I know that, but somehow it feels that way. Somehow it feels like the people in my life now are people I’ve known forever, I’ve become so invested in their lives, their families, even their farms and livestock and now I’m just supposed to say goodbye? But goodbye is different, not like leaving the states because this time when I leave I don’t know when I’ll be back, I don’t know when I will see any of the people who have held such a huge space in my life for the past two years again. This time when I turn around and wave goodbye it could be forever.
Obviously I hope to come back some day even if it’s just for a minute to say hi and look around. I hope to keep in touch with those lucky enough to have a smart phone capable of supporting WhatsApp and other social media platforms. I hope that people remember me just as I hope to remember them; memories can be so fleeting. But for now I will just begin saying my goodbyes and wait to see what the future has in store.
I recently made a trip to Arusha to begin those goodbyes with my friend Allan and his family. I had such a good time and I’m so happy to have had the opportunity to meet Allan when I did so that I could have the chance to meet his wonderful family. We spent the couple days I was there sharing many meals and laughs, attending a wedding and meeting his parents, and drinking A LOT of beer. Like I said it was a fun trip and I appreciate his family for inviting me into their home for the couple days I was there and treating me like one of their own.
Two weekends from now my community has planned a party for me and although I’m sure it will be so so fun, I can already see many tears in my future. I can barely go through one day anymore where something doesn’t happen and I think about how that may be the last time I experience that. While sometimes these are happy tears as I won’t lie there are many things I won’t miss, more often than not these days they are sad tears; tears that really do express me gratitude for the opportunity to have this experience life.