Friday, July 25, 2014

Gonging Out

Left Huruta a few days ago, and man that was harder and easier than I thought.  Easier, because I totally didn't expect so little tears to fall when I gave Dani a hug goodbye (probably having to do with her pulling away quickly, saying 'no crying', and dabbing at her own eyes). Harder, because I didn't realize how attached I was until I realized that I had to leave site a full day earlier then I planned, with less than 24 hour notice. Time I expected to have with people (or places, I wanted to see the waterfall one last time) disappeared.

Maybe it's all my experiences, or just me getting older, but the anxiety, expectation and other emotions about a big event don't hit me until they're in motion lately. For many habasha families I only realized just how much they made my time better and how much I'll miss them as I was giving goodbye hugs. And leaving an extra day apparently meant the mini dinner party Dani wanted to have in my honor didn't happen.

But really, a last taste of Dani's shiro and bunna, one last conversation of laughs and knowing that she could relate to my feelings a bit from her own travels, was enough for me.

Today was more goodbyes.

PC had us all arrive in country together, but we leave separately. Come August people are leaving in groups of six, but this month of early leaving dates are set by grad school and other American issues. So I'm flying by myself on July 29th (2am flight, oh boy) but have spent most of this week doing paperwork and just hanging out with other PCVs who took off this night.

I'm so glad I got to spend this extra time with them, as we were placed at opposite sides of the country and only saw each other at trainings after PST.

As a group, we all gonged out this afternoon.  It's a Peace Corp tradition some posts use, where PCVs are thanked for their service and we in turn get a chance to thank the staff. And then we ring a gong, one for each year of service symbolizing our change from Peace Corps Volunteer to Returned Peace Corps Volunteer.

It's not a very elaborate ceremony, just a circle in the parking lot of the main office in Addis Ababa, but after not having a very official ending to my time in Huruta I really appreciated this one.  It's something concrete, that finial goodbye, and symbol that something has finally ended instead of a murky ground of transition.

I may be sticking around Addis for a few days yet, trying to spend all my birr and make sure my suitcases close and are within the weight limit, but I am officially done with my Peace Corps service.

Pretty sure it'll hit me on the plane.


Annalisa Crawford said...

Wow, what an amazing 2 years it's been. I can totally relate to the emotions hitting later, but try not to sob on the plane ;-) Have a safe trip home!

Rosalind Adam said...

It sounds like quite an experience you've been having. Lots of material for a book? Have a safe journey home.

Nooce Miller said...

It's late afternoon Monday the 28th (Eastern Standard Time) in the US, so you're probably on that plane right now. Let me be the first to electronically say "WELCOME HOME!"

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