I was reading my friend Heather’s blog (we were in Niger together, now she’s a PCV in Lethoso) and was struck by a couple of her entries (read “One Down, One to Go” and “Constant Uncomfort” for the specific posts; read her whole blog because she’s an amazing writer) where she talks about what she misses back home, how she is anxious to return, how she could leave tomorrow and be satisfied for a little while, but knows that inevitably she’d be yearning to return to Africa. That she needs to remember to be present in the moment and try not to look too far ahead, or even look back.
I’ve been counting down. Counting down to when I return home and see my family. Counting down to when the school year will be over. Counting down until the start of Christmas break and I can take a break from teaching. And while I believe there’s nothing wrong with that, I also believe that only counting down lends a slight negative vibe to my time here. It’s like I’m only saying, “the end is in sight” and forgetting about, “check out what I’ve accomplished.”
I’ve accomplished a lot during my time here. I taught, and am currently teaching English as a foreign language to 150+ 7th & 8th grade students. I participate in weekly departmental meetings with the three other English teachers. I meet with anywhere from 10-50 students bi-weekly for a girls and boys club. I am planning a boys’ camp for summer 2013. I will be participating in at least one girls’ summer camp. I walk into town every evening with Pete and greet people galore. There are a hundred, million little things that I don’t even realize but factor in to my being here.
So, I need to stop saying, “I have 8 months left in Benin.” I will start saying, “I have lived and worked in Benin for 19 months.” It’s time to count up.