Christmas in America is one of the most exciting, festive and overwhelming times of the year. All around me people spoke English, there was a Starbucks on every corner and trying to find a parking spot was impossible. All the things I’ve forgotten how to do came rushing back to me like a tidal wave, and I felt quite out of place most days. Thanks to my trip home in August I knew how to handle these feelings and anxieties, but it was nonetheless draining to my energy. I found myself wanting to greet every person I passed and trying to chat with little old ladies at the bus stop about the weather, which resulted in scowls most of the time. The culture shock set in after a few days, and I was grateful to my friends and family who kept me on an even keel during the transition.
I spent most days at home catching up with friends and family, playing with Avery or window shopping. It’s always a great feeling to sleep in a familiar bed and wake up to a routine I’m comfortable with. My Christmas was spent in the arms of loved ones, and I couldn’t ask for a better way to celebrate the holidays. When I look back to where I was one year ago, sitting on Julia’s floor with no furniture, puddling in sweat as 5 of us exchanged family Christmas traditions and attempted to create our own feast, I can’t help but laugh at the fears I held. I was so unsure of myself and my place in this plan, wondering if I had made a big mistake in crossing the ocean to live in a new place. Hindsight is always 20/20, but I am so glad I had the encouragement I did in those last few months leading up to my departure for Peace Corps… I’m confident now that this is the best choice I’ve ever made. Visiting America was wonderful for many, many reasons but I think most importantly because it pushed me to be even more grateful for all I have and the incredible things I get to experience.
A big thank you to all the homies who made this Christmas so fun, and for all the generous gifts I received! I want to give my cousin Scott a special shout out because, unbeknownst to me, he spent all of his Fall semester collecting new and gently used sports equipment to be shipped and donated to my school in Botswana from his school in North Philly! It always humbles me when people think to send kids at Motokwe Primary School supplies and gifts, but this goes above and beyond anything I expected. Scott, you have a heart of gold and I am so thankful for your kindness and thoughtfulness. I’ll be sure to post a video when we give the equipment out!