Changes, oh changes…and what is next?

The fact that I am just five short months away from finishing my service has not sunk in yet. I was chatting with a friend of mine who is in Peace Corps Tanzania currently, and she said something that I thought described pretty well my current mental state. Some days I cry when I think about leaving in 5 months because it is way too soon, and other days I cry because it is not soon enough.

The chaotic, memorable, exciting, depressing and humbling experience the past two years has brought would be one I wouldn’t change for the world. Sometimes I get so lost in the world here I forget to fulfill my promise to those at home with updates. So here we go, a quick little rundown of some big updates and big life changes.

The question on the tip of everyone’s tongue seems to be, what’s next? What do you want to do after Peace Corps?

My answer changes based on which day of the week, and sometimes even time of day, that you talk to me. Some days I am going to be a writer, and spend time finish my book, crafting stories that I love into shared artistry. Other days I want to be a speaker of truth. I want to take all of the new lenses that I see the world through, my privileges that I have and my experiences I have been fortunate enough to live through, and I want to share my thoughts and ideas. Be hyper intellectual, find out why things are the way they are. Ask unanswerable questions, then try to find an answer anyways.

Some days, I find myself fiercely spun up to a particular political issue. I vow to return to the states, and dedicate my time to fighting for the changes that I believe in. Some days it is through working on a campaign, other days it is leading one, and other days it is through my love of  advocacy and policy. Other days the advocacy and policy I wish to pursue is on an international stage.

My dirty little secret that I have always carried is that in this beautiful life that I feel so fortunate to lead, I want to do, to see and to be absolutely everything. So, if anyone wants to know what I plan on doing life after PC, there is one thing I can promise is guaranteed either way:

I am going to take a long, hot shower, hug my loved ones close, and sit in gratitude for the incredible world that we live in. Followed by eating a long list of food items I miss! As for jobs and what is next, I will figure it out as I go. One thing is for sure, that never again in my life will I do something I am not passionate for. So, if anyone wants to hire any of the above mentioned jobs, if it is a passion project for me, then you will gain one dedicated girl to your team 🙂

BUT all of that is still five months away, and oh my goodness do I feel overwhelmed with the amount still to complete in that time with my projects. The youth center is up and running! We are clearing the ground to put in places for sports and activities. We are collecting supplies for the space and for upcoming projects. Work in the schools has been great, exhausting, challenging and so rewarding. My home based care continues to improve the work being done in the community and continues to impress me with the incredible humans I get to call my coworkers.

In that time, I desperately continue to hope that everything can remain in tact for just a few more months. All of my electronics are one soft breeze away from never turning on again. My body seems to think that we have shot up in age about 15x quicker than is what actually happened the past two years. My bank account doesn’t forgot what a deposit looks like, and my face seems to forget how to put light back in it. Summer is full speed ahead which means long, hot days full of mosquitoes and a miserable Sphiwe. Never again am I living somewhere this warm, someone please quote me! So I hope everyone is snuggled nicely in the holiday sweaters, sipping yummy drinks and end enjoying the crisp fall air. Take one extra moment to stop and admire the beauty of changing seasons.

I am also very pumped to announce that my little bro, the last of the fam to see South Africa, is heading my way in just two short days!!! He is only here for a quick 6 days, so we will be spending most of the time in my village where he can meet all of the wonderful humans in my life and get to see a little bit more about how I live…hope he is ready 🙂 And I am so excited to have him here!

Speaking of wonderful people in my life, I have a new one! As some of you know, I am making a quick trip home in December for a family wedding. It will be my first time home in almost two years, which is both exciting and terrifying. There are so many things about me that have changed, from mannerisms and ways of talking that I have picked up here to fit more seamlessly into my world. I will be curious to see how that all translates when I arrive back state side! The trip is going to be a fantastic one! I will get to see my cousin get married, visit my sister and her hubby, spend time with my parents and brother…and oh yes, I get to do all fo this with my special new adventure buddy.

Back in August I met a really unique guy and we hit it off. It was the first time I had found a South African I could truly exhale around, and that was so easy to get along with. I kept waiting for the other shoe to drop and for something problematic to come up (as there is just so much deep seeded trauma and ideals here) but alas, nothing did! He is a super special human I have been lucky enough to spend some time with over the past few months. Who knew that all I needed to do was travel to SA to find someone who shared my idealism, optimism and  passion for social equality! He looks at the world and at people in the world the way I want to, and it has helped me tremendously these past few months to know him.

The double bonus::: He has really awesome parents! In addition to being with this lovely human, I have had the pleasure of spending some time at home with his parents that fills my heart so much. They are loving and caring and remind me so much of my family back in the states. Spending time playing cards all day in the house is a favorite past time of my family in the states, and how lucky am I it is a favorite for them too. They welcomed me with open arms into their home, and created a kind of oasis for me to get away, and be in a loving home where I can really relax and let go of some of the more challenging parts of my day to day life.

So, the adventure continues and it will be his first trip to the states! I am excited to show him some of the things I love most about the states, especially family, friends and food! In addition to the exciting parts, I am eager for him to also get to see first hand and question some of the more challenging things about life in the states. It is always a little tricky for me to describe exactly what is happening over there, so in all honesty, I am excited to get back and see for myself! Hope you aren’t too different from how I left you…

After the trip, I will be returning to SA to finish off my last few months, hopefully feeling refreshed, refueled and ready to take on the last bit of work. It has been a crazy ride, as life always seems to be, and I am excited to continue right along.

As always, sending my love back to everyone at home. Thank you for your continued support.

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