Thursday, July 18, 2013

Close of Service

July 18th, 2013

So I official close my service today… as of midnight I will no longer a PCV, but a RPCV (Returned Peace Corps Volunteer) minus the R for a bit.

Closing your service is numbing, stressful, exciting, and sad all at the same time.  I spent the last week cleaning every inch of my small house, touching everything I own and deciding where it goes and what comes with me (which is not much), and packing it all up.  July 16th, was my pick up day from site.  It was such a weird day.  It feels like normal and everyone goes about there normal business and then Peace Corps shows up, puts your small amount of belongings in a car and officially takes you out of site.  My pick-up day was a Tuesday morning, which is dip-tank day (where the cows and goats go to get dipped in solution for tick control and such).  My host parents were at the dip tank so I had to do my goodbyes with them before hand, so it was just my sister Nosipho and her two year old son Mukelo to see me off.  I was totally numb up until the car came, not sure how I was feeling about all the change, but as soon as it came time to hug my sister and get in the car I couldn’t stop the tears.  I cried all the way out of my community.  I am so excited for the next chapter in my life, but it’s really hard to leave the last.

For the past three days I have been running around Mbabane and the Peace Corps Office completing a huge checklist of things that need to get done before I am allowed to leave the country.  Thankfully there are nine of us COSing this week so we were all in the chaotic mess together.  I finished my checklist yesterday and said all my goodbyes to PC staff and then to make it feel really official that all this was over, we had a farewell PC dinner at our DMO’s house.  All the America staff came and the nine of us COSing this week (everyone there just so happened to be RPCVs) had a really nice home-cooked dinner together to celebrate the end.  It was so great, we shared funny stories of the last two years, shared our travel plans, and just relaxed a bit from the stress of COSing and what is to come once we get back stateside.

Thankfully I have a nice month long COS trip to look forward to starting tomorrow.  I am starting in Cape Town with three other RPCVs (that’s weird to say) and we are driving the Garden Route in South Africa to Durban, then up to Kruger National Park making a few stops on the way, then a few days back in Swaziland, and then finally a brief 5 day visit to Rome, Italy.  It’s going to be great to get to know South Africa more, and a nice reward for us in Italy for surviving the last 26 months.  It’s going to be awesome!  I will fill you all in when I see you back in America!

So this is it, my last blog post.  It’s been such an adventure these past two years.  Thanks for letting me share a bit of it with all of you who are reading.  They say Peace Corps is “the hardest job you will ever love.”  We hear it so often we usually shrug it off as a joke, but its true.  This job is so hard at times, but also the best experience of my life.  I am going to miss the craziness of it all at times, but thankful to be leaving with the happy memory of it.

Until the next big adventure… Sala Kahle (stay well)!!

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