andthathasmade said: Hello! I just wanted to say thank you for your posts! I've been following you as you've experienced China, and I have loved reading your posts about daily life in Sichuan. I wish you all the best as you adjust back home!
It’s a weird feeling.
So many voices and I can understand them all.
So much food but I don’t feel hungry enough.
Colorful skies, grasses, colors colors.
People really are so big.
So much “please” “thank you” “excuse me”.
Yesterday we visited our host family, and it was so cool to see how we’ve all changed.
China, you’ve helped me to see the world differently…to see myself differently.
I’m so grateful for the experience I’ve had.
As we wander around the Peace Corps office to finalize our departure, I’ve noticed the new volunteers as they come and go. Their clothes are so professional, everyone seems imbued with that glorious and precious idealism that comes with beginnings.
We’re leaving, but Peace Corps China continues on!
Two people, two years, three suitcases. This morning I say goodbye to Deyang, my little city that grows bigger every day.
If I ever return, I won’t recognize it at all. The cranes and constant din of construction are promises of a large and vague future.
My Deyang was countryside masquerading as city, a beautiful and self-conscious place where people repaired broken zippers and mended shoes on the street corners as empty coffee shops opened up and subsequently shuttered their windows within weeks.
Deyang was a city of smells. Hot steam from dumpling stalls wafted through the air, and on bad days rancid gutter oil would belch up from beneath the roads. Small yellow flowers would pierce the spring air with an almost artificial intensity. Babies shit on sidewalks, and the coal-burning sweet potato stall sent smokey campfire fumes rising into the grey air.
The colors in my city were often dulled with brown and grey, the muted green of trees and plants coated with a fine layer of silt. Black hair in clumps on the sidewalk outside the barber shop. Maybe this sounds unappealing, and perhaps it is. I loved it, though, at times.
Sometimes I hated Deyang. Sometimes I cried and wished for home, and familiarity and an anonymity that can never exist for a tall foreign girl in China.
Now that we are waiting for our car to Chengdu, I’m feeling very emotional. How can we really be leaving?
Deyang will never be the same city as it was for me.
Tonight is a tough one. Just finished saying goodbye to my best friend in China, Lily.
Lily became a teacher at the same time as we did…in fact, we sat in on her job interview.
We immediately bonded, and Lily always understood me. In my American life, I always wanted to have the “best” friend…the person you know you’re closest to, and the person you know you mean a lot to as well.
I finally found this, except it was in China instead of at home.
We promised each other that we will meet again someday. I feel like I’ve gained something I’ve wanted for so long, and now I’ve lost it.
I know that’s not true, she’s still my friend. The reality of Peace Corps is impermanence.
After all the goodbyes, tonight is the first time I’ve cried. I just want to be home now.
Fun fact: every time there was an awards ceremony, or an occasion for someone to be lauded on stage in our school auditorium, they always played the theme from The Magnificent Seven. For the graduation ceremony this year, it was played on repeat…over and over and over again…’twas glorious!