Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Shout Outs!

As my time in Ancash comes to a close (is it really my last day here?), I've been thinking about all of the people who helped me through my Peace Corps service.

Thanks to Caryn, Ruth, Caitlin, Becky, Alisa, Ann-Marie, Katie Kelley, Gail, Anna, Jackie, Grandpa, and all the other people who sent me e-mails - they were always treasured.  Thanks to my Grandmas for all of the letters and cards - I've saved every single one.  Thanks to Caryn and Ruth for not getting annoyed when I would call them twenty times in ten minutes because I had internet access and needed to talk to them.  Thanks to Gail and Tim for posting pictures and status updates about the girls - I'm able to feel close to them even though I'm so far away.  And thanks for talking about me so Emme knows who I am - hearing "I love you Bethie" in the background of a phone conversation always made my week.  Thanks to everyone who sent packages, e-mails, cards, letters, and prayers.  Thanks to everyone who supported me through this difficult decision and left no doubt in my mind that you just want me to be happy.

But the biggest thanks have to go to my Mom and Dad.  Thank you for buying five round trip tickets to Peru in the past sixteen months.  Thanks for calling whenever I asked you to and even when I didn't.  Thanks for the text message countdowns and Packer score updates.  Thanks for all the Skype credit so I could call friends in the States.  Thanks for never telling me I was crazy.  Thanks for the laptop, the Kindles, the clothes, and the loans.  Thanks for the books and the gifts for my Quechua kids.  Thanks for listening while I cried and for celebrating my successes.  Thanks for telling me that you'll always be proud of me.  Thanks for loving me when I felt like I didn't deserve it.  Thanks for believing me.

Mom, more and more each day I proudly notice ways that I'm like you.  When I bake cookies because my friends are coming over or go out of my way to comfort someone who is sick or sad, I think, "I'm doing this because it's what Mom would do."  Thank you for teaching me that family and friends are the most important things in this world and that going the extra mile to support and love them is always the right decision - no matter the cost.  Thanks for showing me that strength and determination can take you far and that hard work, albeit difficult, is incredibly rewarding.  I love you.

Dad, the way you care for and love Mom, Gail, Monica, Emme, Elie, and myself is an incredible example of unconditional love.  Your character, faith, and unfailing support teaches me what a real man should do.  When I look at the hooligans in my life, it's your voice in my head that says, "You deserve more than this."  I love you.


Friday, March 23, 2012

Coming Home

As many of you have already probably heard, I've made the difficult decision to leave the Peace Corps four months early. It was the hardest decision of my life and was accompanied by days and days of crying and torturing myself (and my parents) with "what ifs". Now that I've made my decision to come home I am sad but feel at peace with my decision.

The past twenty months can best be summed up by this illustration:

(courtesy of fuckiminmy20s.tumblr.com)

When I'm completely honest with myself I need to admit that it's been a long time since I've really been happy here. And after some recent events which made me feel unsafe in Peru, I decided it was time to take care of myself. I could either spend the next four months sad, unsupported and barely surviving or I could take steps to start feeling better. I realized that no one else was going to turn on the lights so it was time I turned them on for myself.

So the schedule is as follows: Huaraz until March 27th and then Lima until the 31st. Mom flies into Lima on the 31st and we're going to have an amazing time in Cuzco to conclude my time in Peru. Mom, Gulliver, and I will be flying home on April 7. And then... I really have no idea.

Okay, I have a few ideas - mainly consisting of the following elements: family, friends, biking, and baking.

And blogging. I may be finishing up my Peace Corps time in Peru but this journey is far from over. I'm going to continue blogging while I transition back to life in America and start to process everything that's happened since June 2012.

Stay strong Peace Corps volunteers.

Can't wait to see everyone at home. I will be demanding hugs.

Thursday, March 8, 2012

Guest Blogger: Gulliver

Hi Everyone!

My Beth is always looking for guest bloggers so I volunteered to tell you guys a little bit about my life in Peru. In case you don't know who I am, I’m a Golden Retriever puppy! My Beth and I live together and I’ll be four months in two days. To celebrate my birthday, my Beth and I are going on a hike together this weekend. I can't wait! I’m still a puppy but I’m already a big dog and am still growing. If my paws are any indication, I’m going to be big and strong when I grow up.

I love living in Peru. I like playing outside with all of the other animals – though the pigs scare me sometimes so I bark at them. My favorite animals are chickens because they run away when I chase them. It's so funny. Our family has two other dogs, Gordo and Paco, and I like to play with them too. When I’m not running around outside, I’m usually napping on my blanket.

Every night, I sleep on the bed next to my Beth. I always make my Beth lift me into the bed. Don't tell but I know that I could jump onto the bed by myself. I just like getting a hug each night. My Beth says that pretty soon she won't be able to lift me because I’ll be too heavy. Bed time is definitely my favorite part of the day.

Oh, one second. I hear another dog outside. I think he wants to be my friend. I’m going to try to play with him!

Okay, I’m back.

What else can I tell you about Peru? Wherever I go, I get a lot of attention. I love playing with kids and grown-ups always ask my Beth a lot of questions about me. I look different from most of the other dogs I see so I can understand why people ask a lot of questions. I love taking walks and riding on the combi buses. I usually just fall asleep in the aisle of the bus so I think I’m going to like traveling to America.

Speaking of America, I’m so excited to go there in a few months. My Beth likes to tell me about it and our family there. Swimming in Lake Michigan sounds like a lot of fun! My Beth's family and friends sound really awesome and I hope they like me. But I’ll be honest... I’m most excited to meet my Beth's sister and brother's Golden Retriever, Conan. I really hope that my Grandpa Conan thinks I’m cool and will play with me.

Well, that's all for now. See you soon!