Tomorrow I finish. I will get all of the last signatures, hand over my Peace Corps family plan cellphone chip and walk out the door an RPCV (returned Peace Corps Volunteer).
That means I need to say good-bye.
That’s not easy.
I’ve cried more in the last month than in the last year. I wouldn’t have guess that in June of 2014, when I first moved to site and cried that first whole week about my new situation, that in two years I would cry because I had to leave.
Things change, huh?
But now it is good-bye…and a fare-thee-well to this life that I have lived.
Farewell to those mornings in site- to that fog-horned bus that woke me up at 6:00am everyday when it came into town (but then I adjusted and started preemptively waking up at 5:45am); to my host brother, and his morning singing routine in the shower; to that first face-washing from the pila under the mango tree that insured I was awake; to waking up as a town together, going to the mill to grind corn for tortillas and asking each other how exactly did they dawn this morning?
Farewell to my morning commute to work – to the walk out my door, past a couple adioses to the guys in front of the alcaldia, a quick morning stop to say hi to Eva in the library, to steps around the new caca left in the road, past the records office and into the health center.
Farewell to a life unplugged and unoccupied- where I could go days without sitting behind my computer, and occupy myself with markers and papelografos instead; to a life that is not lived behind a screen and is coordinated by the sun, breeze and heat; to a life where 9pm meant bedtime, if I wanted it to; a slower life.
Farewell to the smiles and the adioses – to the countless children in the street, or sitting in the dirt in front of their homes, who call my name from blocks away; to the familiar faces on every bus I ride in and out of site; to passing neighbors in the street, and doing life together…so much doing life together that we know too much about another…but so much doing life together that there is a strong community together.
Farewell to cold showers – at times longed for cold showers that cleaned off the dried sweat; but also the dreaded cold showers for which I saw my breath before I began.
Farewell to leaving the front door open – to letting children, dogs, neighbors and vendors come in and out; to living in a culture where being home means leaving the door open, and not being home means that your neighbors know where you went.
Farewell to the beauty of this country – the perpetual summer, the beauty of a hard rain on a metal roof, the dust, the fruit trees, the dark sky before a good rain, the bird songs on the other side of the wall of my room.
Farewell to the good conversations and a culture of visiting – to the many doors that were left open for me, and the cups of coffee shared; to the many questions about life here, and life there; to the many stories from the war; to the many complaints of the daily in and out going of life…of the price of beans, the lack of rain, the death of so-and-so, their health, the annoying kids, the new class they are taking, the new lotion they are selling.
Farewell to afternoons in my hammock – with a good book in hand, a stomach full of rice and beans and a coconut tree above.
Farewell to all those pregnant women I interacted with – the women who knew what it was to have 5 children, and walk in their flip-flops everywhere, but hadn’t been to a town larger than 2,000 people; the women who lose their teeth with pregnancy, but listened to my charlas on spinach.
Farewell to neighbor watching – to sitting in front of the house in the end of the day, with the closing in of the sun, and the passing of neighbors; to talks with my host family (while we sat there and people watched) and closed out the day together, and discussed the bad small town drama. (Farewell to that as well!)
Farewell to the jovenes – those youth who I never thought I could get to cooperate, but who formed a youth group with me for 2 years…and together we aged, learned and tried to keep the peace with new dinamicas.
Farewell to baseball nights – when I studied Spanish, my host nephew played by my side on the tablet, my host brother yelled at the television and the fleas bit my ankles (special add in).
Farewell to exasperated phone call conversations with fellow volunteers – in which we tried to make sense of this life we were living, and commiserated together over the directora who didn’t even acknowledge our presence, and the most recent host-family drama.
Farewell to life in a small town – where not much goes in, nor goes out (which does create economic problems)…but where I came in, and was welcomed in; where I feel as though I belong…the tall, blonde, gringa who really, actually, is from here.
Farewell to those annoying texts from Claro, the phone company – those texts they send you cada rato which inform you of the new promocion solo por hoy!; Claro, I say, is my mejor amigo, due to how much they text me…but, sorry Claro…the relationship is ending.
Farewell to friends, who honestly feel more like family sometimes – to the fellow volunteers who have lived this through with me, to the health center staff that has entertained me, to my Nicaraguan counterparts who have brought me under their wing, to the women who have welcomed me into the plastic chairs in their living rooms, just to talk.
My life is about to drastically change. The lives of those around me – those that I think I fit into their pueblo – are not about to change. They have reminded me of that when I have gone to say good-bye to them in the last few days. They will still be here, but I will be gone. And I will forget them (they say).
My life will change. I change my environment, my country and my language. But, if I’m honest with myself, it has already drastically changed. I am not the 22-year-old that came to Nicaragua. I have learned, and lived and experienced in Nicaragua.
And I’m all the wiser and better for it.
And now, me toca lo dificil, I must do that difficult thing of putting that one backpack back on my back, where it was when I first came marching into town two years ago, and walk out of town.
And I’ll probably go crying again (oh wonderful emotions). And wondering when I’ll ever be back. And if when I come back, they will remember me. And maybe they won’t and maybe they will.
But I will remember. I can guarantee that. I will remember these two years I spent in Nicaragua…with all the joy, tears, flea bites, beans, rice, dust, hugs and coffee…and I will be glad.