Note: Reading these journal entries outside of the mindset in which they were written, I’m realizing that they seem a bit dramatic. But trying to be true to form with trying to keep this blog as an honest representation of my time in the FB, because they are a clear description of how I felt and what was happening my last month, I’ll post them even though I’m slightly embarrassed. Right. Anyway.

22 March, 2011

Today was the first day that discussing my leaving village with my mom became a comment that weighed more than just a logistical talk.  Apparently, “five weeks” is a span of time that is graspable, whereas “three months” was still a “I’m going to be mad at you if you leave!” amount of time. It was Diara, my favorite mom, who took a sharp inhale and gave me that look when we talked about “five weeks” today.

We spent a long movie moment staring at each other before I broke it. “Don’t you say it!” I said forcing out a laugh, and walked away. Normally this is where she’d throw in a “WAI yoooooo Ñamoo!” but I heard nothing I as made my way towards my hut.

2 April, 2011

The typical after dinner routine consists of me, mom #1, mom #1’s baby, and my sister laying around on one of the family shade structures. This is one of the things I know I’ll miss most about village: laying in the middle of my women, letting my mind drift between their gossip and relaxing in evening breezes with flashlight moons. Consistently, it is one of my happiest times in village.  And it’ll never be a part of my life again after the beginning of May.

13 April, 2011

I love all of the new volunteers currently demisting in Kolda. Difficult to think about how I’ll be in Dakar and the Kolda family bonding will continue and I won’t be a part of it.

I’ve never considered my existence in Senegal not as part of the Kolda family.

And while yes, I’ll always be a part f Kolda, I will not be down here for the love and bonding, and they’ll all come to AllVol or WAIST and I just won’t know about the it that binds them together.  It makes me sad (for lack of remembering how to speak English well). It makes me not want to extend. I’m having trouble picturing “Amanda happy” in an office job for the first time in my life. Sitting still is not my thing.

Anyway, today brought a really special moment for me in village. On our second day of demiss with Cibyl in the village, for the first time during my life as a PCV, I was able to be in village with another volunteer and be sit in a crowd of people speaking ½ Mandinka ½ English and didn’t have to worry about translating. Really nice to have someone to share my village/Mandinka culture with without side explanations. Warm fuzzies, I know le sigh.

 

27 April, 2011

Without having counted, if I had to guess, I’d say I ate eleven mangoes today.  Successfully avoided all allergic reactions as well.

I did absolutely nothing today. Well, not entirely true. I speed-biked to Dabo and back to buy more candles since my headlamp is nowhere to be found in my hut. How fitting that the last week or so in my hut I have neither my headlamp nor my phone – two of my most coveted items in vil. Understatement; I more or less had these items surgically attached the past two years. Funny to not have them now in my final week when I wanted things to be uneventful and “perfect.”

It seems that last days are never perfect. Boxes are packed, days are full of awkward interactions where everyone knows that everyone is thinking about your leaving but everyone refuses to bring it up – life is hardly recognizable to the routine it had before the last few days in a place that has become home. Those quintessential last days seem to sneak up on us and float by before we have the right mind to bask in them. They come right before the comforting familiarities of routine are interrupted by the beginning of the moving out process. Last days of life in the IL house were spent meandering from room to hollow room, sitting on the back porch and eating take-out. Last days in Eleven were such a whirlwind of parties, long dinners, and early coffeed goodbyes, that driving out I realized that none of my last evenings included my favorite moments: each of the three roomies on a couch, DVR murmuring in the background as we munched on whatever random snack someone found and laughed at our lives and the world’s woes.

Transition to the next life chapter, better to take it and keep going.

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