At the end of July (it's been a while), my group had their COS conference (Close of Service). It was a three day trip with our staff to focus on finishing our service and preparing to return to the US. As a group we had to give a presentation to all of our staff and the Ambassador of the US to Nicaragua (in spanish) about our service, and we killed it! With lees than 1 month left between me and beautiful California, it's hard to contain my excitement. This adventure has been wonderful, but oh so challenging. I'm taking with me so many beautiful memories but also some not so good ones, and I need to figure out how to deal with all of that in the next month. COS conference was A LOT to deal with because everyone from my group is in different points with their service and life back in the states. Some already have jobs lined up, others don't, most are worried about dealing with living in the US after living abroad for 2 years. I'm blessed to be going back to a job and grad school, so I will be busy so as not to feel like I'm losing my mind!
Random note: If you are ever in Granada, check out the restaurant and hotel "El Torito". It was really cheap with A/C, hot water, breakfast and a free complimentary drink.
What am I most excited about returning to the states?: Multiple things, I can't narrow it down to just one. Most importantly, my family, friends and boyfriend. I will be back home with my family for two weeks before moving back to Monterey and I AM SO EXCITED!! It will be the first time in almost 27 months where I will be visiting and won't have to worry about being thousands of miles away. I'm excited to share what I experienced in Nicaragua, the good and the bad. I'm excited to go back to school to finish my master's degree, I really miss being intellectually challenged. I'm excited to be living back by the ocean and visit the Monterey aquarium each day. And I am super excited to finally start teaching in my own classroom with my own students :D I'm excited for driving, Trader Joe's, TARGET, cheese, not sweating every second of my life, wifi everywhere, bagels, bacon, strawberries (mostly food).
What am I most worried about returning to the states?: My biggest fear, my anxiety disorder. This was something that developed during Peace Corps, and it is a constant burden that I deal with in varying degrees. I am not where I was during my first year, where I couldn't even leave my room, but I still struggle to some degree. And the constant nagging question in my mind is, will this disorder be coming back with me to the US? How will I deal with that in my own country? Guess I'll just have to wait and see.
What will I miss most from Nicaragua: The people who have been my family for the past two year. I have gotten accustomed to a routine of going over people's houses and just staying there for hours, and getting endless free food. When in the US can you just show up to a friends house (uninvited) and stay for 6 hours just because you want to hangout? I'm really going to miss my students, especially from the ecological brigades. I learned a lot from my sixth graders about being a teacher, and I hope I can translate that knowledge once back in California.
What will I not miss from Nicaragua: Constant mosquito bites, they are the worst! Sweating, ALL THE FREAKING TIME. Don't matter if I am walking, sitting or sleeping, I am most likely sweating. Depending on public transportation for EVERYTHING. Cold showers, I never did get used to them. Losing water and electricity at random times for days. Catcalling (this really should be number 1).
As of two weeks ago, I stopped teaching at both my schools (which is my primary job in Peace Corps) in order to focus on finishing my secondary projects I'm working on. Not teaching is also given me so much free time to just hang out with people, or watch too much tv at home...NO REGRETS!