Friday, March 27, 2009

Last Day in PC!!!

31 Months
124 Weeks
868 Days
124 Malaria Prophylaxis Pills
2 Trips Home
84 Pills Treating Amoebas
~800 meals consisting of rice
Uncountable amount of mosquito repellent used
~500 Days of sleeping under the stars
3 Different Homes
7 West African Countries
300 hours spent traveling to Bamako and back
$6,975 – the amount of money I’ve earned in the last 31 months
Uncountable number of people I will remember and times I will cherish

These are just a few things I’m reflecting upon my last week and last day in the Peace Corps. Today, Friday, March 27, 2009 marks the end of an era in my life. I’m done with Peace Corps. That’s a pretty striking statement for me, considering this has been my life for the last 2.5 years. I feel extremely accomplished and satisfied with my time here, though much of it has had its ups and downs. I honestly can’t imagine where I’d be or what I’d be doing today if I hadn’t been in Mali. My friends and other volunteers have been asking me, “So! How do you feel?” On Sunday, after a 9 hour, sweltering hot bus ride my answer was, “My back hurts…” I had no idea what they were asking me. “No, how do you feel about being done?” “Oh, that…” I replied. It’s a little strange for me being done because normally when you Close of Service (COS), you fly out to America at the end of the week. I’m flying out, but not to America, and I’ll be back and forth in Mali until the end of June. So, I feel great, but I haven’t had to do the preparations for leaving my family and friends and I haven’t cried yet about leaving, which will happen. I’ve also had so much else to think about – Baba and I are flying to Dakar on Saturday to start our immigration visa process! Please keep your fingers crossed and have good thoughts for us all next week. When I know anything, you will too!

The good news and results that have been part of my COS week are keeping me pretty happy. I did language tests in both French and Bambara – though I was pretty sure my Bambara was about as good as yours – and I scored Advanced High in French and Intermediate High in Bambara. Just keep in mind I’ve never really been taught Bambara, it’s all been picked up by talking to people and spending time with them. Where else would learning some random African language have been so important? So, those two scores were very much to my liking. I also don’t have tuberculosis, which is a pretty positive thing! I also look very much forward to this afternoon when Baba comes to pick me up. Now that I’m officially no longer a PCV, I get to hop on his moto (with my helmet!) and speed off to some unknown destination. Alright, it’s not that exotic, but it’s making me feel pretty damn good.

Well, I just wanted to share a rather positive week with all you at home who have been so supportive throughout my time here. I promise I’m coming back soon! I sent out an email asking anyone about traveling awhile back, and I just want everyone to know that on April 28th, I leave Paris, France for India, Thailand, Cambodia and Vietnam, and I can’t wait! It’s going to be an amazing trip. You’re all still invited if something were to change, like law school ended 2 months early. I know, probably not, but… I look forward to talking and seeing you in June!