The final few hours of our journey home took place on August 16th. Over two years ago we made our exit within a kicked-up dust cloud of activity; completing a bathroom remodel, sorting and donating mountains of stuff, insurance, finances, powers of attorney, checking i’s for dots and t’s for crosses, then finally passing off the keys, and praying we had remembered to pack the necessities.
Although it all worked out well, after having left in a bit of chaos, we were a little unsure of what we would find upon our arrival back. Would our house be a mess? Would it still be standing?! The scheduled week of our return Ames had been making the national news. The on-line photos of campus showed Iowa State Center in the middle of what appeared to be a beautiful reflection pool. Unfortunately this “lake” was where landscaping, parking lots, and lower levels of buildings were supposed to be. While trying to ignore all this news, we had also heard how the flooding broke water mains resulting in the need to have water trucked in and/or treated. Not that treating water would be unusual for us. But we were really hoping to have the luxury of clean running water once we got home.
Happily, the evening we pulled into our driveway, we found our house to be not only standing and dry but well cared for as well. In fact we found our neighbor friend inside flushing the pipes since the boil order had been cancelled. Thanks to our fabulous leasers and wonderful neighbors who all obviously watched over things for us and took care of whatever needed to be done (without so much as a peep!) it seemed almost as if we had never left. The path had been laid that would make it easy for us to just settle back in.
They say that readjustment to life back home is the toughest part of the Peace Corps experience. So it might have made sense for us to unpack our bags and try to relax for the very few days remaining before Chris had to report back to work. Instead, the very next day (despite the fact that everything had been so well taken care of) we began ripping up carpet, repainting walls, and remodeling again! I guess not everyone handles the readjustment process in the same way.
As of today progress has been made on the home improvement projects but we still haven’t gotten our things unpacked, not even the bags we carried home with us! Chris is back at work and we’re both staying busy and we’re catching up with friends and generally life is good. Actually it’s marvelous! When I turn on the tap the water runs (cold AND hot)! When people speak I can understand what they’re saying. Business offices are so very efficient. It’s easy (and painless) to get around. Most tasks can be accomplished – and - in less than a day. Tasty recognizable food is everywhere (gain winter layer of fat—check). And it’s hard to believe I never realized until now that the Hy-Vee grocery store is one of the most beautiful places in the world!
So anyway, if you’re still reading this blog you have obviously noticed that I’m still writing it. And I think I will continue to do so for a while. One reason being that if readjustment is one of the hardest parts of the Peace Corps experience, (whether or not that holds true for me personally); I feel I should cover it. But as I mentioned before, I want to go back and record or finish writing about some compelling stories and interesting subjects that I didn’t get posted during service, even if only for selfish reasons. And the time to do it is now before I get too caught up in and distracted by American life and while I still have a fighting chance at capturing the moments which are still somewhat fresh in my mind.
In the mean time Chris and I will be playing the role of RPCV and taking part in several presentations including the one announced above.
Ahhh…it’s good to be home again!