Monday, January 21, 2013

a trip home

i drove again! after 8 months!
i was able to travel home for a week to see family over the week of christmas.  it was a good time to see friends and family and just take a few days to kind of relax.  i say kind of beause i think i slept less than i normally do.  but i was able to enjoy the creature comforts of things like a hot shower, sharp cheddar cheese, good beer, wine, and just a ton of food.  it was an entirely different world from what has become normal to me over the last 8 months.


the entire time felt kind of like a dream.  a very vivid dream, but a dream nonetheless.  i kind of wondered when i would wake up and be back in nicaragua.  i actually woke up a few times in the middle of the night at my parents' house and found myself very confused about where i was.  i had to look around really closely at everything that was around me and then realize that i was back in NC and not in nicaragua.

i don't think the aisle ever ended
i went into wal-mart and target the first full day being back.  it stressed me out.  there was so much stuff. and lots of people.  you'd think that i'd be fine because of the markets in nicaragua.  often they are packed, cramped spaces with tons of people walking around and bumping into you.  yet the superstores seemed to make me more uncomfortable than being in the big markets in managua.  i also at one point remarked, "the size of this store must be the size of my town almost." obviously a dramatic overstatement, but it conveys the idea and feeling i had while being in there.

i didn't even know where to start
anyone who has traveled for an extended amount of time knows that culture shock is not fun.  i purposefully didn't want to stay a long time because i knew that it would get worse the longer i stayed.  as it was, the time felt just right because i never really seemed to wake up from my dream of being home.  some things were still fairly poignant.  the amount of money i spent while home, for example, was probably about two months of my salary in nicaragua.  two months versus eight days. crazy isn't it?   when i got to miami everyone was speaking english to me, which sounded really strange and i still responded in spanish half the time.  i also felt incredibly overwhelmed as i opened the pantry to what seemed like a limitless supply of snacks and food.  how much food can two people need?  it was fascinating to see, yet i could never decide what to eat...

tasty beverage in raleigh.
good beer still does exist!
others who haven't traveled as much didn't seem to understand the strangeness of it all.  i got "aaron, you haven't been gone that long" a few times as i couldn't think of an english word or where something was in town. sometimes it's hard to put into words the experience we have as peace corps volunteers.  the best way i could think of how to describe it was to say it is like putting on a t-shirt backwards.  it fits... for the most part, but it still just kind of has a weird feel to it. the collar is tugging at your neck because it is cut the other way.  my currently reality is very different than what i experienced again while at home.

last good beer for who knows
how long...
i came back and went to the beach for a few days to relax and transition back into life in country.  i ate lots of street food, drank the local beer, and couldn't wait to get back to my site.  when i got home my host family welcomed me with open arms, and we sat and chatted about what had happened for the last few weeks while i was gone.  they really enjoyed the chocolates i brought back with me too.

after visiting home, i've realized i have two homes.  i have my home in north carolina, but i also have my home here as well. i was excited to get back to site and meet up with my friends here again.  put simply- i enjoyed my time at home, but i couldn't be happier to be back here in nicaragua.
got to come back to this. can't really argue.

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