Wednesday, November 25, 2009
End of November...
A Bittersweet November
November 26th, 2009
Literally, before my eyes, November has come and gone. And what a month it has been, Jeeze. My site mate deserted me, I aged YET another year (I am now 21, if anybody was wondering), and winter had come roaring in with a vengeance. It has been a bittersweet month, both some really good times, and some sad ones. Due to unforeseen circumstances, no new volunteers have come to join our ranks here in this sandy patch of the world, and with the previous Volunteers contracts being up, well it’s like they say in show business: curtains baby. This month begins their departures, and by the end of December, they will all be gone on to continue their lives elsewhere. It’s also a running joke here that Peace Corps Turkmenistan is a lot like being in Harry Potter Movie, as we are all divided into the five regions (Ahal, Mary, Dashoguz, Lebop, and Balkan) and have thus been given nicknames (my region is the Slitherin house, for any of you Harry Potter peops out there...still don’t know why) We see the volunteers in our respective regions most often, as we spend holiday and birthday events with one another, share work duties such as workshops and camps, and tend to travel in packs sharing taxi rides, planes or trains. So over time our ‘region buddies’ have started to become like family. And as December closes in, it has started to hit us that our family is going to get a lot smaller very soon.
Recently, all the Ahal Volunteers gathered in the capital to commemorate their last days among our ranks, and because it was the last time most of us would see each other, we decided to throw together a early thanksgiving day feast. As we went round the table giving thanks before eating our piles of delicious grub, it was resoundingly apparent from everybody how much of an impact that we have had on each other in just this short amount of time. A year ago, when we were sitting in our training rooms in Philadelphia, filling out the last of our paperwork before we boarded the plane, one of our trainers said to us. “Look around you guys. All these people are strangers now, but in ten years they will be the people coming to your weddings, and holding your babies, or sitting around the table with your families.” A lot of us laughed and were like “Ok, dude, cut down on the cheese factor a little, why don’t ya…” But to a certain degree, he was right. We have all come from vastly different walks of life as far as Americans go, but looking at my comrades around the table on our last day of celebration before they left and listening to everybody’s heartfelt speeches, I couldn’t help thinking, ‘It’s good to be around family’. I can only imagine what another year will bring. And ignoring the dangerously high rating on the cheese-o-meter, on my part, I’m thankful for family, whatever form or shape that it comes in. So, with that said, I wish everybody a Happy Thanksgiving. And to Dan’s mom, remind him to write me. He will be missed.