Thursday, May 12, 2011

"What if I feel like I belong?"

I am sitting on the floor in my homestay bedroom, sipping Good Earth tea that my mom sent me in my first ever Peace Corps care package, and listening to my Zune on shuffle (currently Joshua Radin “What If You”) and feeling, for the first time in a while, emotionally free. I finally feel settled and at peace, like my spirit took a deep breath, smiled, and settled in. 

Although I have felt throughout this entire process like I’m on the right path and doing exactly what I’m supposed to be doing right now, I have also felt sort of in flux –not wholly believing what is happening, kind of bewildered, and constantly waiting to feel contented with this experience.

Things are new and sometimes very different from what I am used to. (This includes everything from what I am eating to the complexity of even basic household chores to the roosters crowing at all hours of the day and night.) I have felt like I am playing catch up – trying to learn a language, a culture, and a way of life almost after-the-fact. Occasionally I have a hard time wrapping my brain around the fact that I am halfway around the world from the life I have known and living in a place I only dreamed of seeing. Every day has had its struggles (some days more than others) and I have felt like a guest in this foreign land.

Today, however, I felt like I finally belonged here. As I walked the route from the training center to the bakery to the take-away and then home, I greeted locals that I finally recognized and who recognized me. The road, the people, and the conversations are familiar now. My host family welcomes me home with huge smiles and I look forward to seeing them. My host mom now knows I prefer vegetables to meat and makes sure I get an extra scoop of veggies on my plate. Things are getting comfortable and I am able to relax. It is such a relief to finally feel at ease.

It goes even deeper than that, though, and I am finding it hard to articulate. It is more than familiarity; it is a profound sense of peace. I said that I have always felt like I was on the right path but now it is as if I know that I am. I enjoy the life I am leading. I appreciate the uniqueness of this experience and I have started to find humor in the idiosyncrasies and differences between ethos. Yes, I realize that there will be many more times ahead of me when this feeling of contentment will wane but I am at home in Botswana and finally feeling fulfilled.

If this isn’t kismet, I don’t know what is, but “Hallelujah” just came on my Zune (the Ari Hest version, one of my faves). Honestly, it makes perfect sense to me that this song would come on right now. This is my first “hallelujah” transcendent moment in Botswana. Deep breath. Life is good.

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