Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Turmoil

That is what I am experiencing right now.

Well, that and immense procrastination.

Today, the new Az9 Zaqatala Volunteer off-handedly commented that it's got to be hard leaving after being here for 3 years.

Yeah.

It is.

I remember the day I left Alaska for Philadelphia (the staging site for PC Azerbaijan). I had signed up to ride stand-by and was lucky to get a seat on the earliest flight out of Nome. My dad and friends were waiting at the airport to say good-bye, and I barely waived to them as I bounded out to the plane. It seems so long ago now, and such a different time. I arrived in NY and hung with family - making jokes and being silly up until I stood in line waiting at the hotel to sign in and begin the next 2 years of my life. I stood, sandwiched between a young man named Charlie and another named Evan. We talked about blog-stalking each other and our ridiculous pre-service blog posts. After those awkward moments, I found my hotel room and met a person who would become one of my closest friends in PC, Amy T. (Amy and I would eventually be placed at the same site together). Later, I sat at a round table, across from a guy from Alabama (who I later learned studied Russian at his Alabama university and played in an instrumental rock band) and a couple who arrived later than late. That evening, I would find out that the husband of that duo shared the same birthday as me (along with half a dozen other similarities). Hours later, I would agree to head to dinner with a group of unfamiliar people and inadvertently try to shame a devout Jewish friend because he refused to add bacon to his veggie burger. He would also become one of my closer friends, a person who eventually (and unknowingly) lead me to the faith I now claim wholeheartedly.

Arriving at JFK, I would eat at least 4 Hebrew National hotdogs while waiting for our plane to leave and annoy a young man enough that he thought I was the most anal-retentive person alive. Three months later, we were inseparable.

In Azerbaijan, I would puzzle over why locals were not eating dinner (we arrived at the tail-end of Ramadan) and persuade an Azerbaijan to exercise with me in the early morning after less than 4 hours of sleep. Three days later, I was introduced to my host family which I never imagined would be the beginning of the next 3 years of my life.

I have had 4 birthdays in Peace Corps (one while waiting for the plane to taxi away from the Nome airpot), 4 Christmases, a standing case of ringworm that just migrates across my body, lost 15 lbs, gained 15 lbs, ate sheep head soup, and pooped in my pants.

How will I ever top all that?