It’s weird being a visitor in your own country. After a while, it felt weird telling people I was going home for a visit. Home? I thought I was pretty well established here in Sausal, but all the same I still had my other home. Before I left for Peru, I wasn’t planning on coming back during my two-year stint. I knew I’d rather travel around a bit during Christmas and there was something hardcore about not going home. But in Peru, the vast majority of volunteers go State-side at least once during their service (usually during the end of December or May/June for graduations).
And to be fair, I didn’t really experience the reverse culture shock while home. Sure, oftentimes I felt lost in conversation if people were talking about family news (if it isn’t posted on Facebook, I usually don’t hear about it) and anything minor that’s been happening the past few months. But I spent the week at home in family surroundings, I slept in the same room, went to the same bars, even went to my old high school to talk for a bit. Nothing was really ‘weird’ while I was home or different from how I remembered it from when I left. Maybe I was just home for a quick whirlwind and it was too short to really notice any changes or have to deal with re-adaption: I could still be the annoying Peace Corps volunteer who starts their stories with “In Peru, we….” to mark any dull difference between what I was doing in Peru and what I was doing at that moment.
But this time it was a little harder to leave home…..
even if I was just going to New York for a few days before heading back to Peru. I wasn’t leaving the States just then, but I was leaving my family again. The first time I left, I was excited to begin my Peru adventure and that was the only thing on my mind. But coming back home and reconnecting made it harder to leave. By the time I was on the plane in New York, I was choking up while everyone else was happy to go to visit their families (Peruvians) or start their vacation (gringos).
Not that I hate Peru or hate my life here – far from it. But there was less excitement, less adventure coming back to Peru this time around.
Within my first day back in-country, I kept on getting phone calls from people in my community and other friends who knew I should be back. They asked me how it was being home, how my family was, and that it was good that I was back home.
At the mega mall a block away from the PC HQ, I stop to pick up a coffee at Dunkin Donuts before I go into the office. The girl at Dunkin Donuts asked me if I lived here because she thought that she remembered me from when she worked at the DD in Trujillo
Getting off the night bus from Lima to Trujillo at 7am and cross the street and wait for my bus to pass. I’m constantly looking over my shoulders to make sure no one tries to run off with my bags and thinking about how much I don’t want to have to transfer buses with all my stuff but that’s probably not happening. Fuck it’s hot. Then I see the red bus coming down the street, it honks and flashes it’s lights at me, speeds up and veers right towards me. When it pulls up, I notice the driver is Don Marcos from my town and through luck I happened to get one of the few buses that go straight to my site. He welcomes me back, and we go back home.
I’m home, drop off my stuff at the house and head up to the bread store to visit the family. My dog is there, and he keeps on jumping up and down, barking and refused to leave my side for 30+ minutes. I was told when he was in the house, he would park himself in front of my door and refused to move.
There’s no ending here because the story keeps on going…