Friday, December 12, 2008

First Impressions of Home

Disclaimer*: Nothing in this entry will be "right." I'm going to blame it on the jet lag.
I'm back in the states. I got back yesterday. I already miss Bulgaria. I haven't even been here 48 hours, but if the first few moments are any indicators, this whole "re-entry" thing is going to hit me hard. I already signed up for a mentor. I'm hoping connect with another Returned Peace Corps Volunteer (besides the ones I already know) to try and get through it. Plus, Peace Corps gave me mental health vouchers before I left. If I can find them, I can go talk to a specialist a whopping three times! I'll be cured!
Ireland was great. My mom and I visited a lot of great spots. We went to the following places: Dublin, Enniskerry, Kilkenny, Killarney, Blarney, and Liscannor. We also drove through a bunch of amazing locales. If these places mean nothing to you, let me just saw that we saw a lot of green, toured a few castles, visited some amazing cliffs, entered some enormous churches, drank a bit of Guinness, and we kissed the Blarney stone! Mom did a really good job of driving on the "wrong" side of the road, and I played the role of navigator since the GPS wasn't working. We saw a lot of southern Ireland that way - by driving all around it. We divided our time between hotels and bed & breakfasts (some not actually including breakfast), and the people were amazingly friendly and nice. We had people come up to us on the street and give us directions when we were lost. A bus driver even pulled up alongside us and asked if we were okay, 'cause I'm sure we looked utterly confused. The accent is great. Some of their sayings we found extremely amusing and now want to use in daily conversation. Plus, Irish boys be cute. I had a really good time with my mom.
My bags and my belongings made it stateside - intact. Only the lid of one ceramic cookware broke, which is an incredible shame, but is amazing considering all the breakables I packed. Considering the price I paid to haul it across Europe, I'm feeling very grateful that only one thing broke. I'm already unpacked - sort of. A lot of the things that were sitting in my bedroom here have been packed away since my mom has taken on a remodeling project with the help of some family members. The house looks amazing. It takes some getting used to, but I love it. Nice, new things are usually easy to get used to. It's the presence of Mom here that makes it feel like "home," - otherwise I'd probably feel like I was staying in some stranger's house.
So, I've started working on going through plastic crates and slowly transfer my clothing back to my closet. I use "my" as an adjective, but I'm trepidatious to start thinking of this place is mine. I don't want to get too comfortable here. American culture is not as accepting as Bulgarian culture on the whole "living with my parents into my late 20's" thing. "Hi. I'm Apryl. I'm 27. I'm unemployed. I'm unmarried. I live with my mother." This may have worked for George Costanza in "The Opposite" episode of Seinfeld, but I doubt it's going to work for me.
So, yeah. I miss Bulgaria already. We landed in San Francisco, and the city was nice from the plane. Once we were on the ground, however, the only beautiful thing I saw were the smiling faces of my grandmother and grandfather. The city was brown, hazy, and it lacked that sparkle I remember San Francisco having. Maybe it was just the day. We soon hit bumper-to-bumper traffic on the freeway as we were driving toward the haze. It's not as quiet here as it was in my tiny, mountain town. I saw some friends last night, and I saw my uncle today. Other than that, I haven't really been out, and I don't know what to do with myself. I'll have to busy myself by getting my space in order, followed eventually by my life.
I woke up early and flipped through infomercials of every kind - telling you what was wrong with you and what you needed to do to "correct" it. I zoned out and stared at the opposite wall. I'm so lost that I don't even know what I'm thinking when I do that. It may hurt people to read this, but I miss home. Home is a state of mind, but for me (for now) home is Rakitovo. I don't want to sound ungrateful, 'cause I'm from an amazing place with a loving family. It doesn't mean that I want to go back. I just miss her.
P.S. I got this note from a friend of mine in Rakitovo. She's in high school. This just makes it all worth it:
Thank you, Apryl!
Hey, Apryl! I just wanted to say: Thank you for being here, for wasting ur time on us, for always being that nice and helpful, for changing Rakitovo and our ways of thinking... For the 3 years u've been here u have done soo much for all of us and most of all you became part of our lives.
At first when I thought of writing to you I just wanted to thank you for the recommendation u wrote for me and which helped me win the scholarship I was applying to, but that made me think also of all the things you've done and what a great volunteer was sent to us. Благодаря ти за всичко и няма да те забравя! :)


Anonymous said...

I wasn't thinking when I wrote my earlier comment. Skype is the way to go. It's easy to find me. Please don't post my last comment. I don't want my contact info floating around. Blagodaria mnogo. - Krasi

Anonymous said...

This is Krasi's earlier comment without the contact info. I thought it was nice, so I'm editing it and including it:
Welcome home, Apryl. You must be feeling strange. It will pass. Whenever you feel like speaking Bulgarian or just chatting about anything, call... or e-mail.... I'm here for you.