To all the followers of my blog and supporters of my endeavors, sadly, this particular adventure has come to end. On March 1st, 2009, I landed in the continental US to repatriate our great, economically struggling country and I couldn't be happier.
After a missed connection and substantial delay I arrived at the airport greeted by mom and dad, grandpa and grandma, brother and sister in law and a myriad of hugs, kisses, balloons, flowers, and tears. My parents were also sweet enough to bring me my winter jacket, shoes, and socks in order to protect my flip flop clad tootsies from the blistery cold.
Since being home I've dove head first into all the delicacies of American life such as eating (things like CHEESE AND MEAT), drinking (things like COLD sodas and BLUE MOON) driving (like BY MYSELF with SEAT BELTS), playing video games, watching TV ( like Gossip Girl--pretty white people with problems), and speaking ENGLISH. Aside from the little annoying daily tasks expected of you here like showering regularly and wearing socks, life has been pretty fantastic. Its so wonderful to be around my family again and hang out with my long lost friends. I'm having a great time and I can only hope that the party will last but there are little things about coming back to a country that you haven't lived in for two years that can be stressful. Money is an issue and makes buying things like a car, cell phone, etc. stressful. Luckily I have an obscene amount of generous family members and friends who let me mooch rides and food from the fridge. ;) (oh yeah, and thanks mom and dad for letting me stay in the guest room formerly known as my bedroom. ;))
My two years in Senegal has and will continue to impact my life, I'm sure, and I couldn't be more grateful to have an opportunity to do something so extraordinary. I have learned so much about the world and more importantly, about myself and the person I want to be. With the excitement of coming home, its hard to think about how much I will miss Senegal, but I know I will. I'm sure I will greatly miss all the wonderful people I've met and the amazing friends that I've made. I will miss the African night skies, animal noises, and the beautiful solitude of the Sahel. I will miss the handshakes and interactions in everyday life. I will miss the children, the babies, and the smiles.
I would like to take this opportunity to thank all the people that supported me through this journey; those of you that sent emails, letters, packages, or just read my musings. I'd like to thank the other UNBELIEVABLY wonderful volunteers who I had the pleasure of serving with. I know living with me was no easy task. :) (And to those of you who have another year to go-- I wish you the best of luck. Hang in there!)
Lastly and most importantly I'd like to thank my family. All my words will fall short, I know, and even as I write this my eyes well up. You will never, ever have any idea how much your support meant to me during those two years. Grandma and Grandpa, thank you so much for all the letters and packages!! It was so important to be remembered. Mom and Dad, you are my pillars of strength. Through the heat, the frustration, the hunger and the happiness, you were there with words of comfort and love. I can never thank you enough for your understanding, accessibility, pride, and good humor. (Not to mention you roughed it like champs when you came to visit me.) I love you, and I'm so happy to be home!