Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Bittersweet . . . Goodbye

In mid January I left my wonderful friends and adopted families behind in Kenya . . . it truly was a bittersweet goodbye. Even though I was "temporary" they never made me feel that way. I miss their smiling faces and their always welcoming greetings. It didn't matter if you were gone for a minute, an hour or one week they were always happy to see you return and made you feel so good. They are truly happy people regardless of what else is going on in their lives. There is always a smile ready to welcome you.

I returned to my temporary but welcoming "home" (Dad and Noreen's in Idaho)to very cold weather and relieved family members and friends. Maybe they weren't sure I would return? I also returned to stacks of mail even though Dad did a great job of sorting the important stuff . . . we took 12 lbs of shredding to the "shredding place" not to mention the "stuff" that didn't need shredding . . . amazing waste. Lots of new and changed technologies have come around since I was paying attention in 2008 - Wii, that was fun!! I have yet to "get it" but it was FUN!! Thanks sister Mindy - who kicked my ---- in all dance moves, games and other "stuff". Some I have yet to see or experience. There is still time, I think. I was clueless about movies, politics and the contenders for the Superbowl. Yeah . . . Packers!! The politics got more angry and hostile and Superbowl commercials got more expensive - all so important in the USA. My tongue is a bit sore from biting it often although not as often as is probably prudent. I found the people in Idaho very friendly and it is soooo clean here. You really have to look hard for trash and litter. That I really appreciate and I hope they do too.

I am struggling with the "what's next" question from everyone and the excess that seems to be a part of most lives. RELAX, I'll get there with the next chapter of my life soon enough and I'll try to avoid the excess part at least with most material things. A friend introduced me to a great fitness club (KOKO Fit Club) so I can relieve some stress that returned VERY quickly and try to get back 2 plus years of little cardio. My heart is loving it!! Well maybe excess in exercise . . . it is my current social life. Any way, one step at a time, few plans, little scheduling except that tax due date that didn't go away . . . back to IT.

I'll reconnect with Kenya soon through friends just to check in and tell them I miss them and I am thinking about them and will continue to "help" however I am able. Their faces and circumstances remain in my thoughts and dreams. I will not forget.

Thanks to Peace Corps for the experience of a lifetime and to family and friends for their support and encouragement during the past months. I will treasure the experience as it will keep me humble and thankful. I would encourage any and all who can take a "break" from their current life to take a look at giving back through Peace Corps. You will not regret your decision, if chosen to serve.

When your heart and mind is motivated to give responsibly to help others . . . please remember the "kids in Kenya" through www.makindu.org (Oregon) or www.wingsofpeaceinternational.org (Florida). I know these organizations and your generous donations do make it to the people for whom it is intended and they do MAKE A DIFFERENCE!!! A little goes a long, long way to help these children.

Peace and Love to ALL!!

Paula; RPCV