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Monday, February 20, 2012

Bad days here suck

Man....I had an awful day yesterday. It all started with the weather.

IT WAS BEAUTIFUL OUTSIDE. You might be wondering why that upset me. I guess after living in the coldest winter known to man, waking up to 40 degree weather hit me like a brick. I instantly felt excited about being able to go outside. I thought "What do I want to do with my Sunday?" A list of things I can only do in America came to mind, making me instantly hysterical with homesickness. This is how my list began:

-Go to the dog park with Turtle
-Sit on the porch with my sister and the pups
-Invite friends over for "Sunday dinner" with Lauren
-Go to the farmer's market, and buy fresh veggies
-Get coffee with Aaron at Same and Zoe's
-Drive out and spend the day with my mom
-Play volleyball with Amanda, followed by Mexican food
-Drive somewhere, just to drive somewhere
-Etc, etc, etc...

So I cried. A lot. I havent had internet all week, but my phone occasionally picks up wireless, so I was able to get enough of a connection to call my sister at 6am her time. I told her about my frustrations for about a half an hour. Suddenly, Emilija called. She sounded so happy!! I killed her mood by crying to her as well. Thankfully, her mom instincts kicked in, and she was at my apartment within 10 minutes to rescue me.

It's really difficult for me to put my pride aside and admit when Im having a hard time. I also hesitate on telling people here, because Im afraid people will just think "OH, she's going to go home." The term "ET" here stands for "early termination." It is probably the most talked about subject among Peace Corps volunteers. People make bets on who will be the first or the next to go, and I hate feeling like I'm going to end up on someone's list one day. I don't even know why I care, but it adds to my refusal of wanting to talk to anyone about being homesick.

The thing is, I feel like I'm far more attached to my family back home than some people can understand. Some volunteers here are more independent from their families. Although I view myself as someone who is independent and strong, I have no shame admitting that I am deeply connected to my family and friends in America. Before coming here, I always spoke with my mom AT LEAST once a day. I saw her, my sister, and my grandmother frequently. My aunts and cousins also join in about once or twice a week for family dinners somewhere nice....not to mention, every holiday was another excuse for us to all get together over some good food and wine. I had a solid group of friends whom I saw regularly. My dog is the love of my life, and I planned everything in my life around spending time with her. I can't help but feel like I am missing out on so much by being everything at home is changing drastically, and I'm missing all of it.

The thing is, I know I'm missing out on a lot. I know nothing will be the same when I get back. I also know I'm experiencing a lot by being here. I'm in love with my city, my counterpart, my school, and a select few individuals who have invested time in getting to know and support me. Some days, like yesterday, are far too overwhelming for me though. I often fight the urge to call my family, look at photos, of think about everything I miss. Then, some days, I cave.

When you are going through PC training, the admin people will often ask you how you will deal with being stressed, homesick, or depressed. Naturally, I answered honestly:
-I'll cook.
-I'll paint.
-I'll exercise.
-I'll find a new hobby.

What a volunteer is not aware of is the lack of resources for those activities. For instance, it's taken 5 months for me to find acrylic paint here. I just bought it last week while I was in Skopje. Yesterday, my first thought was to paint, however, I had no surface to paint on. Canvases don't exactly exist here, which leaves me with cardboard boxes or regular paper....not exactly fulfilling. So I decided to cook, which again provides a lack of resources. Although I must give myself credit for finding ways to cook a good meal here, on my bad days, I often want something a casserole, yet they do not sell the required ingredients here. I cant even get fresh produce right now, other than apples, because of the winter. Even the cabbage here is turning brown. I then turn to exercising, which by the time I think about it, I cant even motivate myself. In America, I made myself go to the gym, but I dont have that option here. So instead, I find myself turning on a movie, which is exactly what PC told us not to do.

I know that the warmer days will be good for me. I know being outside is what I need. The dance studio should be final this week, which will provide the exercise I need. I also need to really get back into my other projects, like the animal facility. I know I'll have my bad days, and I know I'll have my good days. The purpose of this post is to vent without worrying what people will say, even if I end up on someone's ET list. I think it's important to be honest with yourself, especially through writing. Already, I feel MUCH better today.

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