It's been over two months.
It's been over two months since I've spoken Spanish for more than two hours. It's been over two months since I've ridden public transportation. It's been over two months since I've been kissed.
My life has completely changed within these past two months.
A few of you called me out on not writing since my integration back into the States. Part of why I haven't written is because I've been busy...partially because I have been lazy...but this blog post has been brewing in my head recently.
Well it's pretty nice being back. Other than the obvious material things, I have really enjoyed being with my family. They are just a good group of people that I feel I have missed out on the past six years of my life. My parents are funky...definitely gotten "older" in a sense. And my sister is this funny enigma...I can't put my finger on it but she's such an awesome person and I'm starting to realize that with the little adventures we have. So living at home is not nearly as bad as I had anticipated.
What has been the hardest for me, however, has been the realization that my Peace Corps experience is over. These past two years changed my life in so many ways, I still have trouble fathoming that my life will never be like that again. A day does not past where I drift into a daydream of me riding on a moto through Yantzaza or a trip to the pool with my ninas.
I try my hardest to keep in contact. When Ecuador was in their "coup" fits a little bit ago, I called a couple families to get the real gossip of what was going on down there. I've sent two rounds of packages, I text message, I facebook. I do what I can...but it still feels like I should do more. How can I just drop these people that I spent two years of my life with?
I still struggle with that because it seems that if I call too much it's not only expensive, but hard to talk about a lot of things. I also don't want to become that "gringa that lived her for two years but we've never heard from her since."
But Ecuador taught me a lot of things that I never thought I could do. Like speak Spanish to Hispanics in America and have them understand me. My patience is also an incredible difference. Things don't set me off like they used to. My passion for Spanish and Latino culture is even stronger. I feel more at ease in new situations, especially those that I am not used to. At least here I am a native speaker of the language...
So sorry for the delay. I needed these few months to digest everything that's happened. I've taken a couple of trips...hoping to take more. It's been nice just being in one place though. My "basement dwelling" is quite nice and I get utter silence at night--a huge improvement from my loud Colombian vecinos (I'm told a Colombian family is now living in my apartment...good thing I got out when I did).
Luckily upon my return, I was able to land a part-time job. I'm the Hispanic Outreach Specialist for a local non-profit. Linda, the woman who hired me, is a RPCV from Ecuador, ironically enough. She served about 20 years ago, so it's really neat to talk to her about readjustment and her experiences, as well. She really gets me, and that's refreshing. I really believe this job was meant to be.
I get to speak Spanish everyday, which is the best thing about this job. The population I deal with is mostly Mexican and Guatemalan, so I've had to learn some new words and get rid of some of the stuff I say (ya mismo...doesn't exist :-( but I've had to learn to say platicar for "chat") These people I deal with are so awesome though and I feel that talking with them, I am, in a way, talking to my gente in Ecuador. I see little Madgy in a few of the little girls I see. And I hope that by talking to some women, my friend Sindy hears me or thinks of me at that moment. I miss talking to her more than she will ever know.
Well this has been a lot harder to write than I thought. Lately I get into these intense memory jogs and my mind can't stop running from the memories. They flood back at the sound of a song from my Ecua Mix CDs, or the sight of a photo, or a card I find hidden in a book.
I am hopeful that I will be reunited with some of my friends in the future. It was funny because the other day I was sitting on my front stoop watching as mini-van after mini-van passed by our house. Sitting on my bench outside my house was a daily ritual for me in Ecuador. Lines of laundry would clutter my scenery, forcing me to look up to see the jungle. The sun would be baking the patio and Tortilla would be prancing between eaves, looking for a cucaracha to catch. Little Adrian would scurry by with a dirty face and two other barely walking babies would be in tow.
Now I was staring out at orange leaves littering our front lawn, two women walking their golden retrievers on leashes, meanwhile a Mercedes Benz zips by. Am I living on the same planet? Are we in the same year? Same decade? Life is easier here, but I still feel like I left my true life behind in Ecuador.