I returned to my Armenian town just days ago. Last time I was here, the night brought quarter size snow flakes, and the morning was covered in it eight inches deep. I flew southwest where I ate mounds of Mexican and Thai and Vietnamese food, relished in Americanness like drag shows, Just Dance, and Thursday night gatherings around “Parks & Rec”.
Now I’m back in Armenia with just a few months before the end of my Peace Corps service, and I’m feeling some things.
1. I so much miss having a group, those friends you see every week for some show you love or at some favorite haunt. I can not wait to go home, reconnect to old friends, make some new ones. Texas, watch out; I’m about to go friend hunting.
2. I am terrified of my future. Job(s)? School? New me v. old me? I lay awake at night wishing all my questions were answered. Will the car I left behind still be broken? Can I survive temping in Austin for a while? Bigger and bigger questions bob to the surface. Here comes that moment I’ve been wondering about for two+ years. There seems to be so much potential in my return home; can I harness it?
3. How will I handle ‘the missing’? I am utterly in love with this place. My cottage is my own home in a way that no other building has ever been. My friends here are so special to me, bring out so many parts of myself I didn’t know existed before their Armenian outing. I love the mountains, the cool spring, the sunny mornings, the dinners in our office kitchen. They say that returning home after Peace Corps is much harder than leaving in the first place. One reason for sure will be saying goodbye to a life I will almost surely never live again.
My time here, which used to seem like a pool I could swim in, seems now like a small collection cupped in my two hands.
Every time I leave a place there is that feeling of deep richness, of knowing myself so much more, of loving the world more profoundly. There is also a loss, a longing to hold onto something intangible, a sense of the temporal that cuts down ultimately to my knowledge of mortality.
Here it comes. A sweeping change.