My Visit Home
I had to leave for the airport at 4:30am for my flight from Kingston to Las Vegas and I made it just in time for Thanksgiving dinner. My best friend Molly drove up from San Diego, my sister and her fiance drove up from Arizona and my parents and big brother drove down from Idaho. It was so amazing to get to spend time with all of them and my wider extended family over the weekend. The dinner was even more elaborate that I remembered, there were the traditional turkey, ham, stuffing and mashed potatoes but there was also fish and beef and shrimp and all sorts of magical things. I think we counted 7 main dishes total and that does not even touch on all the yummy side dishes.
I think my first moment of culture shock came at the grocery store, there were so many different types of humus and it just blew my mind, how do you ever choose? I am lucky if there is only one kind. Grocery store treats aside, the bachelorette party for Alexis was the next night and it involved some drinks and shopping and then some dancing. I wish there had been more time in Vegas for planning but we made do just fine. I always enjoy my time in Las Vegas.
The week before the wedding was spent running around town with my sister for hair and makeup trials, dress fittings, last min shopping, and any other prewedding errands. It was crazy but I absolutely loved spending time with my her fulfilling my Maid of Honor duties and it was so easy because my she was so easy going. The Bridal Shower was lovely, especially to have all of the important woman in her life to come together and celebrate. The rehearsal dinner went well too and we had a great dinner catered by our favorite family restaurant, which closed early just so they could be there. It was celebratory and fun all around. My bestie who Lex has adopted, Molly, was able to attend as well as my boyfriend Mark. It was a week of commemorating the couple and their commitment surrounded by all of the important people to our family. I honestly loved every second.
After the wedding I had just enough time to make a quick (4 days) trip to Seattle. My time in there was a blur of good food, great drinks and amazing friends. In many ways after almost 7 years, Seattle feels like my home and as tough as it is to be away from my parents, it is Seattle where I imagine moving back to after the Peace Corps. With the help of my good friends, I ate all the things I had been looking forward to, Honeyhole Sandwiches, UMI Sushi, Jak’s Steak, BOCA Burger and truffle fries and even a Nutella topped crumpet. I got to spend a lovely afternoon catching up with everyone at my old office and I am lucky to have co-workers that still care so much about me and what I am doing in Jamaica. I swear wasn’t lonely or hungary for a single second. My favorite was on Friday night when after some drinks with friends, Mark said that he wanted to take me for some a one-on-one date. So we headed out to our favorite spot B&O for delicious deserts. We had planned on eating back at the house and when I walked in, everything was dark and I noticed a keg in on the floor and before I could compute this oddity, *SURPRISE* the lights came on and there stood 30 of my most favoritest people. I had a heart attack the started to cry and hide behind Mark. It was a great night to have everyone I miss and care so much about in the same room. The next day was devoted to the catering for the ECS End of Season Party. Mark planned 6 delicious sandwiches and a group of us just assembly lined them out. The party was fantastic, music, fun and lots of dancing and even my brother made a cameo up from Portland.
Reentry to JA
I thought that leaving Seattle the second time around would be somehow easier than when I left 9 months before, but honestly it felt almost exactly the same. As heart breaking as it is to whenever I leave my parents, I have been doing it for almost 7 years now and while I enjoy Las Vegas and Boise, they aren’t the places that I was making a life for myself before I left for the Peace Corps. It is so difficult to return to a that place I love so much and is filled with so many people I adore. It has been week now since I have been back in May Pen and I am still working on pushing Seattle from my mind and being present in my life in Jamaica. I feel lucky to have found a place that is interesting and dynamic and has people who make me laugh, challenge me and love me for exactly who I am. It is hard to come from that environment and return to the isolation and mood swings that are inherent in Peace Corps life. But here I am, looking forward to Christmas with my friends and appreciating the love I feel from a distance.