Sunday, November 1, 2015

Another Birthday... and some thoughts

It has come and gone.....another birthday down in Uganda.
Last year was the first year I was actually alone on my birthday without family or friends. Matthew had gone back to America to be with his family during some hard times and I was left here in Uganda. It was hard for me to be alone on a day that is usually spent with friends and family, celebration and cake...I love cake. 

The past few month have been hard ones. They say that every Peace Corps experience is different. You can't judge yours based on anyone else; what they are doing, how many projects they complete or the relationships they form. This has been so true for me in so many aspects. I came into my service married, which was far different from the other single volunteers that swore in with us.  I spent my first year in Uganda with someone. It made it easier, I do not doubt, when it comes to cultural issues and having someone who understands your frustration, someone to joke with that actually gets your jokes, someone who understands you.

They showed us a roller coaster of emotions as they call it that generalizes the Peace Corps experience. I would always look at the picture and think....well that's not me. It wasn't me, it wasn't how I felt. Unlike the pictures that showed the ups and downs, moments of lows and highs, I hadn't felt that way. My first year of service was a high, slowly creeping up the tracks. Then it hit, in a blink of an eye. I had reached the top and was rushing down, faster and faster and deeper than I ever thought I could go. 

Needless to say, this year I told myself I would not be alone on my birthday and thanks to some amazing friends I have made, I wasn't. They trekked the now muddy, clay roads of Kibaale to spend the day with me. We enjoyed homemade lasagna made on the stove and chocolate fudge cake brought back from America. We joked about life here and dreamed about life back in America, we planned out our "enjoy the rest of Uganda" trips and talked about what comes next. It's hard to imagine how fast time really has gone by, especially these past 6 or so months, and now starts the "what am I going to do next" phase. Something I, as a major planner, am not ready to start looking into yet. I wasn't suppose to start thinking about this until next year, but with my new Close of Service date sooner than I imagined it is something I have to do. On the upside, my rapid downhill decent has slowed as I have reached the bottom for now. Now I am steadily, if at all, moving upward again to what I hope will be more highs before my service is over.

Another Birthday in Uganda