The last week has been one of the most emotionally intense in a long time. A week full of good-byes: to Niger, to Peace Corps (for now), and many friends. A week of uncertainty, which will continue; for, if I do re-enroll in Peace Corps, I don't know when I would be leaving or where. However, I am lucky that we have this option, because I still want to volunteer with Peace Corps.
Even with the hardships in Niger, being there, sharing life and working with the Nigeriens, was one of the best things I've ever experienced in my life. I felt so fortunate to be there. And it ended so abruptly, with so many loose threads. Who knows I'll ever be able to return; I hope so.
On the one hand, I am happy to be seeing my family and friends again soon. Being so far away has made made it clear how precious those relationships are. I'm also wondering how we've both changed. And if they'll want to listen to everything I have to tell them.
Morocco has been lovely- clean, modern, mild weather. The streets aren't dirty and there aren't emaciated farm animals wandering the streets. Oh, Niger. Rome should be amazing. I plan on seeing: the coliseum, the forum, the Vatican, the Sistine Chapel, the Protestant Cemetary (Keats and Shelley are buried here!). And more. Just aimlessly strolling the ancient streets should be great. Some good time to reflect on all that has passed, and is soon to come.
I know I'll be coming back a different, but stronger person. 6 months ago I would have been too scared to travel in Europe alone; now, off I go! Niger has shown me how I could do things I never thought possible. Like living without electricty or water; being crazy sick; not speaking English for weeks at a time; being the foreigner; being away from my home. I'm thankful for this experience, and hope I continue to have more like it.
I land in Seattle on February 8th. Be ready! Many stories and pictures. Be well, friends. Through all this turmoil I am still safe and calm and happy, and grateful for everything I get to experience and feel. That, I think, is the best way to live!