Yep...I have. Once as a joke and once very seriously, just a few weeks ago. I arrived back to Nicaragua from my second visit home 18 days ago, after three weeks at home. 2014 took some rocky turns towards the end, if you've read my previous post you know that I struggled for months with what I thought were asthma attacks, to actually be panic attacks and got diagnosed with an anxiety disorder and social phobia: two things that don't blend well when you're an education Peace Corps Volunteer. Despite the struggles, I was given all the necessary help through Peace Corps and learned how to work with my diagnosis. Going home for the holidays was not in my original plans, but after getting sick, I felt that being with my family would be the best way to recharge for my last year in Nicaragua.
I arrived home on the 22nd of December and was there until the 11th of January. Three weeks that were wonderfully spent with family, but also three weeks of immense pain. Sadly, my grandmother passed away on the 28th of December. She was the best grandmother ever. Always received me with a hug, prayed for me when I left on long trips, always gave me wonderful snacks. One thing I'll always remember about her is the yearly calendar she gave me from one of the many wildlife charities she donated to. I lived in her house all my life in Ontario, California,until I moved out to go to college. I visited my grandmother at the hospital the night before her passing and still remember the smile she put on her cute wrinkly face. She had no idea I would be coming to see her. The weeks to follow after her death were hard on all of us. When the day came for me to head back to Nicaragua, I left wrong. Back in June when I went home, I felt ready and excited to head back, this time I didn't.
I cried the entire three hour bus ride from the airport to my site family's home, and only wanted to be back home. On that ride, I asked myself, What am I doing? Why am I here? I should be somewhere else. I should be in California with my family. I told myself I would finish the week (I arrived on a Tuesday) since I had a training to give the next day. When I got home, I took down the last calendar I would ever get from my grandma. There was a pine tree on the month of December.
At the training, I felt strange around all my fellow volunteers. When people asked how my vacation went I didn't even know what to answer. As the days went by, things got easier. I felt at home again, and at the end of the week, I realized I didn't want to go home anymore.
I've been in Nicaragua for almost 20 days and although I have the worst allergies of my entire life, I'm content with where I am. I've been trying to stay busy in and out of site. I've been teaching English to incoming high school students until the new school year starts in February. And even got asked to give a training on the benefits of trees and how to plant them at a fellow PCVs site nearby. This is exactly where I am supposed to be right now. I will see my family in less than five months for my brothers wedding in June and then I will only have 4 months left of my Peace Corps Service. Nicaraguans have always made me feel at home and the little things (like cows eating my front yard), make living away from home a little easier.
And in response to everyone's question, my time home was amazing. I got to see and say good bye to my amazing grandmother. I got to spend some wonderful time with my grandpa who treated me to delicious Mexican meals, I got to have many laughs with my sister as I tried to sleep every night and she so casually rolled over me. Got to skateboard with my brother. Got some much needed home cooked meals, awesome goodnight hugs and fun shopping trips with my mom. Got to watch mine and my dad's favorite car show together after 18 months. And got to go to Disneyland with my future sister-in-law. Thanks for 3 wonderful weeks.