Tuesday, February 7, 2012

The End

I've decided to end this blog to begin a new one.


If you followed this blog please continue to follow me over here and see where life takes me next.

Thank you for reading my thoughts and adventures.

Sunday, February 5, 2012

Highlights

My friend Jillian gave me tasks to do each day of my first week back home. It was actaully a good way to get semi-readjusted and it was fun to have to do something everyday.

It was a good first week home.
Went to Target and bought a new hat an feather earrings

Ate In N Out...delicious! 

Saw The Descendants

Andrea had a welcome home dinner for me and I got to see all the little ones
little Reggie is walking & oh so cute!

Had sushi with Andrea, Yoho, and Reggie 

Best friends since 1991, it's good to be with Andrea again!

Mexican food night!

I splurged and got a new iPhone 4S & I love it!

Sunday afternoon at Little Cottonwood Canyon


Snowshoeing

It was a beautiful day! 

video
Video of snowshoeing, it's a little shaky

Friday, February 3, 2012

New Beginnings

The end of my Peace Corps experience marks the end of a huge chapter in my life. It’s not only the end of my journey in Guyana but I feel like it’s the end of my young adult life {my adolescence in a sense}. I came to Peace Corps unsure of who I really was. Unsure of what I really wanted in life. I came to Peace Corps to figure out my life…to find myself. And I have.

Now that it's over and I'm looking back on the whole experience I feel extremely grateful. I had my share of ups and downs and there were times when I questioned if being in Guyana was worth it. But now I can definitely say it was worth it and I would do the whole thing over again if I had to. I met amazing people and I grew. I gained a whole new perspective on life and that is something I’ll be forever grateful for.

Being home has been good but a little weird. And I say weird because I have felt so many different emotions like happy, overwhelmed, scared, excited, sad, loved, lonely, jealous, guilty, and subdued.  I can't help but feel that since I'm home I have to have a plan. I have to jump into something, anything.  I have to be doing something.  When these thoughts/feeling come into my mind I welcome them and feel them but I don't allow them to stick around too long...I just keep telling myself it's okay to feel these things and it's okay to take a little time before jumping into something. I know things will happen when the time is right....

I'm pretty excited for new beginnings and the next chapter in my life.  

Monday, January 30, 2012

Videos & I Hope

I am excited to finally share a few videos. 

This first video is the boat ride/wetlands tour we took during our Close of Service conference.
video

The second video is of the nursery school kids singing on my last day with them. 
video

And this third video is my last minibus adventure.  While we were sitting waiting for the bus to fill a guy started harassing Becky and asked her some pretty personal questions so Princess being the 'hold nothing back' gal that she is chimed in...I love Princess! 
video


I hope you were able to get a little glimpse of life in Guyana.

...........................................

My friend Jillian is amazing and I'm sharing a poem she wrote because it's lovely and it speaks true to how I feel about my time in Guyana. 

I hope by Jillian Johnson
Oh Guyana. I hope I loved you enough.
I hope I turned up in the days that the sun was high and warm and worked hard under your heat and sweated enough.
I hope I taught you something.
I know you taught me something. Or two.
I hope the day ended feeling better than it started.
I hope the next day starts better than it ended.
I hope I tried for you enough.
I hope you felt the fast beats of my heart and the tears of my eyes.
I hope you know that I tried my best.
I hope you know that I loved your children like my own.
I hope you know that many of times they were.
I hope you see a difference because of what I did or did not do.
I know that I will be different, because of what I did and did not do.
I hope you show your beauty to others, like you have shown me.
I hope others will see your beauty that is truly here to see.
I hope you know that you brought some of my favorite people of life together: In my heart and in your country.
I hope you feel the feelings I have for you in every breath that I have left to take.
I hope you know that at times it felt like it was forever, but that quickly slipped to lost when I was awake.
I hope you know that I woke up with you, dreamt of you, slept with you.
I hope you know that I broke for you, struggled for you, fought for you.
I hope you know that I loved for you, for everything and everyone you generously gave to me.
I hope you know that I cared for you and will continue you to do so daily.
Oh Guyana, I hope I loved you enough.

Saturday, January 28, 2012

In My Final Hours

Somehow time got away from me and up until the last moment I was still saying goodbye to people, packing, finishing documents for Peace Corps, and hanging out with good friends, whom I’m going to miss so much.

Thursday night I stayed at Princess’ for the final time and Friday I signed, dotted my I’s, crossed my T’s, and said farewell to Peace Corps. Then Becky, Princess, and I headed to the Linden bus park for the FINAL time and I said, “hallelujah” to my last minibus ride!! Friday night we had a little dinner, which was perfect, just my style. It meant so much to me that Mrs. Gibbons and Dawn come over and brought some channa and macaroni and cheese. We reminisced over memories and talked about all the crazy, good times we’ve shared in Guyana, even the memory of ‘flat bird’ (what a nurse called me in the first month at the health center) was brought up. My eyes were teary all night. After dinner Becky and Princess treated me to ice cream and we got caught in the rain, but it was actually kind of nice. We continued packing and by 2:30am I felt like I wanted to close my eyes and try to sleep for an hour so the 3 of us laid in my bed (my last time under the mosquito net!) but my mind was just racing and my heart was feeling very anxious. At 3:30am I got up, made some coffee, ate a bagel, and then Becky woke up and we talked some more. Around 4:45 a sleepy Tim and Chelsea came down stairs to see me off with hugs and tears. They are going to be the last ones standing in Linden and I’m so proud of them, I will truly miss them, we have been through a lot together.

Rastaman James picked us up at 5am, Becky and Princess came to airport with me, which was so sweet of them. It was a very rainy morning and my last drive down the Linden highway was a bit scary, we hydroplaned a lot, but we made it to the airport safely and in time. My bags were a tad over the allotted weight so we had to move some things around, I was glad I had Princess and Becky there to help me, the airport can be stressful. I hugged Becky and Princess goodbye, again with tears in my eyes and then I was on my own departing Guyana.

Seeing as I hadn’t slept I was tired and once I boarded the plan I closed my eyes and after a few minutes I heard someone say, “Sosebee”, I opened my eyes and there was a ground personnel asking me to please come with him that I had to look at my bag. It was still raining and there were a few employees gathered around my bag they called me over and a man came over and told me he was checking my bag for narcotics. He pretty much ripped open every single thing I had wrapped up and then proceeded to interrogate me, asking me how long I’ve been in Guyana, what I was doing there, who I worked for, and if I had my supervisor’s number. I told him I was a Peace Corps volunteer and told him the name of our country director and then he said, “Oh, I know who is” and said my bag was okay and let me re-board the plane. It was so weird and it really bothered me and of course I cried once more when I returned to my seat. I have had the worst luck at Cheddi Jagan International Airport and boy am I glad to not deal with that airport any longer.

And now, I’m sitting in JFK waiting for my flight to Salt Lake City….

It’s definitely been an emotional roller-coaster ride for me the last few days…I just can’t believe I’m finished and now I’m a Returned Peace Corps Volunteer.
I can’t believe I’m back home and it’s time to embark on a brand new adventure…readjusting to this American life and figuring out what my next step is going to be…it’s definitely an exciting time in my life and I’m ready for whatever life has in store for me next.


Saying goodbye only allows us to say hello again!

Oh, Miss Jillian!

LAST MINIBUS RIDE!!!!

Man, way to go out with a bang, I mean messy hair!

A dear lady made me a goodbye heart cake

My farewell gang--love them!

Mrs. Gibbons and Dawn

I have to thank God for watching over me and keeping me safe over  the past 2 years, especially on all those minibus rides!


I’ll be writing and reflecting more about my time in Guyana and the whole experience once I get some sleep.

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Saying Goodbye

It’s crazy to think that another new group of volunteers are embarking on this adventure come the 1st of February. Although, I won’t be in Guyana to greet them or get to know them I can’t help but think how they must be feeling right now…how I felt 2 years ago, packing my bags and venturing out on an unknown, foreign experience. It’s interesting to compare my thoughts and feelings as I was leaving home and arriving in Guyana to now, leaving Guyana and returning home. The thoughts and feelings are very similar--scared, uncertain, excited, nervous, sad, hopeful, and knowing this change is good for me.
Honestly, I never thought I would be this emotional when the time came to head home, after all I’m returning to once a familiar land…I’m returning to my friends and family. But it’s hard and I’m sad to leave Guyana, I’m sad to say goodbye to the amazing people I’ve met here. Guyana has become a part of me, it became my home and I’m truly going to miss it.

I have come so far in 2 years and I’m so excited that a new group of people are leaving the comforts of their lives behind for a little while to experience a new, great, different, adventurous, crazy, beautiful roller-coast ride that is Peace Corps Guyana.

It doesn’t feel real that on Saturday I am leaving Guyana and heading home…it’s just so crazy that my time here is ending. Where did 2 years go?
I am so grateful for this experience and for all the friendships I’ve made along the way. I know this experience was exactly what I needed at this point in my life. I will never forget my time in Guyana; it’s truly a beautiful country.


There are so many people to say goodbye to...neighbors, nurses, teachers, market vendors and shop keepers, taxi drivers, boat drivers, patients, the laundry guy, and everyday people I pass on the road. It's been hard saying goodbye.
Yesterday was my last day at the hospital kitchen and today was my last day over the river, at the health center and schools. I have become a part of a community and I'm really going to miss everyone who's been so kind, welcoming, and friendly towards me. I'm sad I didn't get to say goodbye to a few people over the river today but I hope they know how much I enjoyed getting to know them.


It's been hard saying goodbye to the kids, the students who have touched my heart. At the nursery school the headmistress had them sing me songs and give me hugs and kisses, it was so cute. My heart goes out the kids in Christianburg and I'm so blessed I got to spend time with them.


The goodbyes are only going to get harder in the next 2 days...
 ...but it won't be hard saying goodbye to this guy!

Sunday, January 22, 2012

My Last Weekend In Linden

My last weekend in Linden was good...a few girls from GUY23 and Becky came to spend the weekend. We spent a rainy Saturday afternoon down by the creek not too far from our house (I don't know why we haven't been swimming there all along) and it was a lot of fun. There was a rope tied to a tree so we could swing into the water.

Becky's first time ever on a rope swing

Cowabunga

We just stayed in the water while it rained

Then we spent the evening at Barrow's, our favorite restaurant. Chelsea, being the amazing person and friend that she is arranged for them to prepare cookup rice and plantain chips (the only things I wanted before leaving Guyana). I'm truly so grateful for everything her and Tim have done for me...they have been like family and I'm really going to miss them.

The night was full of dancing and laughter...it was a great last Saturday night in the place I've called home for the past 21 months.  I am so blessed to have met such great people in Guyana and I'm so thankful for this whole experience.  Guyana and Peace Corps are going to be a part of me for the rest of my life.

The group

Can't wait to hangout with them stateside!

Becky and I were making up new dance moves...this one was hailing a taxi

Right now my heart is full of love and appreciation for everything and everybody here. 
I just can't believe it's all ending in 5 days...it's a very weird, bittersweet feeling.
And this week is going to be very emotional for me.

Thursday, January 19, 2012

Words of Encouragement

Why am I feeling nervous?




Sunday, January 15, 2012

Unplanned

I feel like everything is up in the air...I really have no definite plan for life after Peace Corps. 
I have ideas, dreams, and goals but a direct plan? Nope, and I feel like I should just throw a dart at a map...
I'm just overjoyed at the thought that I can do whatever I want to do with my life. And I'm okay with not having a plan right now in my life.  Maybe it's a good thing, because really plans don't usually go as planned. 
Everything is wide open.
And that is very exciting. 

I do want to take a little time to decompress and settle back into everything. 
I want to reconnect with friends and family.
And I want to travel within the States. 

So, right now my life is unplanned and I couldn't be happier. 

Thursday, January 12, 2012

Things To Remember...



Things I wish to remember about my time in Guyana...
The talks and advice shared with Mrs. Gibbons
Enjoying my morning walks along the river on the way to the health center…just alone with my thoughts and the beauty of the morning sky
The beauty of the jungle
The birds singing early in the mornings and the melody of frogs and bugs at night
The taste of plantain chips and cookup rice
The friendships I created with the girls at the hospital kitchen
Those moments on the minibus when my heart was full of love and appreciation for this experience
Group meal nights with Tim, Chelsea and Tony
The random crazy nights out on the town in Linden
The “what the heck” moments where I could look at Chelsea or Tony and we’d be thinking the exact same thing 
Morning walks/workouts with Chelsea
Girl’s weekends spent at Princess’ where we’d stay in our jammies all day and watch Lifetime movies
Total randomness
The freedom
Lying in my hammock
Traveling around Guyana
Witnessing the awe and shock on the faces of the people who visited me
Baking and cooking with Becky
The kids and how sweet they are
Being called “teacher Sara”
Living simply


Things I want to remember about myself while in Guyana...
(attributes to carry home with me)
Go with the flow…things don’t always go as planned and that’s okay
Be patient…‘just now’ things will happen
Be open to new things
Budget money
Compassion for others 
Confidence
Independence
Able to deal with diversity 
Push myself…it’s good to be pushed out of comfort zones
Less sensitive to bluntness and people being critical  
Learned about the power of prayer and I want to continue/enhance on my spiritual journey
I am me…I can’t pretend to be someone I’m not
Value great friendships
Sense of self 
Volunteerism 
Only I have the power to make myself happy 
Be aware of the beauty in my surroundings
I enjoy cooking
Always be grateful

Sunday, January 8, 2012

A New Year

I rang in the New Year with good friends & a lot of fun!
It was one the best New Years I've had in a long time.
I'm very excited it's 2012...I have so many dreams!




Saturday, January 7, 2012

23 Months & Close of Service

This is my final month in Guyana. It’s surreal and I’m feeling a bit anxious. I just can’t believe it is all ending and that in 3 weeks my life for the past 23 months will be different. It’s definitely a bittersweet feeling.

This past week was our Close of Service conference; we ended where we stared at Splashmin’s Resort and that was a little weird…we were all remembering the first couple of days in Guyana and how awkward it was getting to know one another and trying to understand what was going on. And now it’s time to say goodbye.

The conference was good and informative. We learned about all the forms and documents we have complete in order to close out our service and just like the long process it took to get into Peace Corps leaving is similar. I’m feeling a little overwhelmed but I know I’ll get it all done…it’s just going to make these last 3 weeks fly by.

The thing I enjoyed about COS was reflecting on every thing I’ve accomplished during my service and the life skills I’ve acquired/enhanced.

We talked about re-adjusting to life back home and they shared with us the 4 components of re-entry
1) Loss
2) Change in expectations
3) Change in employment
4) Cross cultural adaptation (change in values and time)
I think these are going to be very true.

Guy22 and PCGY staff


Yesterday we returned back to Georgetown and to the PC office. It was a very emotional day and I felt very anxious because I had to say goodbye to many volunteers who I won’t be seeing before I leave Guyana. It was especially difficult to say goodbye to Heather and Kellen.
They are seriously such good, giving, genuine, fun people and I’m going to miss them so much. I’m grateful for their friendship and I know I’ll be seeing them in the States.

I know the next 3 weeks are going to be full of emotion.

Sunday, January 1, 2012

Hello 2012

I’m so incredibly excited for this New Year. 
It’s going to be a good year…I can just feel it!
I’m so excited to complete my Peace Corps service. 
I'm looking forward to returning home.
And I’m thrilled to see what 2012 has in store for me.

My Goals:
1. Start school
2. Become fit 
3. Road trip the east coast
4. Visit Amie in MI
5. Visit North Carolina
6. Visit Becky, Princess, Heather and the Tibbs'
7. Do 30 days of eating raw foods
8. Buy a professional camera and learn about photography
9. Have my own apartment
10. Enjoy going on dates
11. Take a ballet class
12. Go on a random, spontaneous trip
13. Grow my hair super long
14. Go to Laughlin and Jet Ski with family and friends over the summer
15. Cook a new meal every day for one month
16. Go camping
17. Go to a concert
18. Go to Disneyland in December
19. Grow spiritually
20. Spend lots of time with my family

Happy New Year!!