If you can believe it, as of 11 o’clock tonight, I will have been home in the USA for three entire weeks! It’s been such a comfortable and clean two weeks.
Yeah, I totally dropped the ball on blogging post-Election time! Whoops. But then again, not really “whoops”. Here’s why blogging turned out to be harder than I expected:
1. My homes didn’t have wifi, so the only computer access I had was at Internet cafes around the city. Luckily, we had one right next door! Problem solved! Except that this Internet cafe doubled as a taxi base (serious love for these cabbies, by the way), which meant often times taxi-drivers were roaming around behind me as I Facebook-ed, emailed and looked up pictures of puppies. How comfortable did I feel writing about my deepest and darkest secrets in that environment–not very.
2. It is sweltering hot in Guyana. That equator is not joking around! It was always hot outside, and even hotter indoors as air conditioning is a thing of the rich and famous. Any and every Internet cafe in the city was indoors (duh) and just unbearably hot. Not that buildings of other uses weren’t, but it’s hard to convince yourself another dose of total body sweat-age is worth it all too often.
3. Said cafes cost money that I didn’t have and/or decided to spend on coconut water or juice instead.
4. Communicating an experience so hard yet so rewarding is very difficult. There were terrible, terrible days that i experienced during my year that I needed to write and talk about, but couldn’t. I didn’t want people to worry (more than what was already happening); I didn’t want to relay the idea I was miserable (even when I was); I didn’t want to give Guyana a bad reputation; and I didn’t want to admit to myself how hard some of these days really were. I tried to be “honest, yet discretionary” while blogging, and then found myself too exhausted to try anymore.
See, that last point makes it seem as though my year was miserable. And it was! But it also wasn’t! It was awful, but it was (more so) beautiful and amazing and enlightening and empowering and inspiring. I knew all of these things while I was in Guyana, but I was truly too tired to try to get them on paper (screen?).
So here I am: home, with nothing but time to either sleep or to unpack this backpack of a year I had. Also I have some literal unpacking to do, but that’s very boring. I have to admit, my commitment to sharing stories of my year is pretty self-serving. Sure, I want people to see and read about my experiences in Guyana! But I also want to a) process these experiences more for my own self and b) relive these stories while I tell them, and in turn continue to live Guyana-minded. It’s very easy to “forget” that Guyana lives are being lived simultaneously with Buckner, Kentucky lives, and that’s a hard thing for me to ignore. It’s so easy to push Guyana away, I need to make it harder.
I’ll start with a few FAQs for everyone. Qualifying as “frequently”, these questions were asked at least 4,000 times during the last two weeks.
1) How was it!?!?!?
–Short answer: “Great!! Really amazing!”; Less-short answer: “Great!! Really amazing! But also terribly difficult, challenging beyond belief and at times incredibly miserable. Overall, the most extraordinary year of my life.”; True and Long-Answer: “Read my blog and I’ll tell ya! 😉 “.
2) Was it hot??!!?
–Can I first tell you how infuriating this question is? For an entire year I redefined what “hot” means, and then I come home to the land of the air conditioners turned on in every single building and houses set to 72 degrees, and someone asks “oh was it hot?”, like their air-conditioned blood knows the true heat and discomfort of “hot”. YES it was HOT, hotter than you would ever want to be. Guyana is so close to the equator, and in turn wildly close to the sun. A 30-minute walk to work at 8AM would have me dripping sweat from each and every pore, my hair wet and my shirt soaked. Daily, people. The humidity is on a different level, even from the “humid Kentucky summers” people here love to hate. The air was so thick with moisture (and pollution and a terrible stench), I constantly felt like I had a layer of Vaseline on my face. Yep, that greasy. Aside from a few days during the rainy season and whilst showering (cold water only, hallelujah), I was a constant sweaty-grease-ball. Very attractive, let me tell ya!
3. Are you glad to be home!?!?
–Yes. Yes. Yes. I’m so happy to be home! Please don’t interpret this as “I’m glad to not be in Guyana”. I am overjoyed to be back with my family and friends, clean air, a clean house, no obligation to eat rice, and the luxuries of America. But I was also happy to be in Guyana, and sad to leave. Okay fine…to answer your question: yes.
4. What are you going to do now!!??!?
— First and foremost, I’m going to enjoy all of the lavish parts of life in America! Mainly: sanitation, unlimited potable water, reliable plumbing, ENDLESS CHOICES OF EVERYTHING (even though I’m ultra-indecisive), wireless internet and communication that is easy as pie, comfortable beds with no mosquito nets necessary, a great lack of rodents, and an abundance of clean and free public bathrooms. In addition, my friends and family and all of that wonderful-ness. I don’t have any real plan. This fall I’ll be living with my parents and hanging out with them, while visiting people in different parts of the States. No, I don’t have any money and no, I don’t want to get a job to make money. I need some R E L A X A T I O N time, and I’m hereby telling myself I deserve it. Then, we shall see.
I have to warn you, since I am sharing stories for selfish reasons, I can’t promise you they’ll be entirely uplifting, happy, entertaining or dramatic. But they will be (almost entirely) honest, and most importantly REAL. They were what they were, and to me, they were extraordinary. Not all of them will be as gripping as some commercials nowadays (that one with the girl dancing on the sidewalk who gets picked up by the van of her friends is very endearing) but hey, not everyone’s life can be a TV commercial!
I’m excited to do this! To share with you and to help you to understand my experience. Stay tuned…