I am officially back home. I have a job, a cellphone, and I’m working on getting a car. This post needs to be written, but I’m speechless. There are so many emotions, thoughts, and plans running through my mind all at once. My Peace Corps experience was life-changing. Nothing in the world that I’ve experienced thus far has given me as much sorrow and joy and perspective. I know who I am. I know who I am not. Yet, I’m still growing.
First, let me write about coming back to America. My first entry into America was through Hawaii. I went with my good friend Sam West. She wants to go to school to get her Masters in Social Work and she should because she’s darn good at what she does! She wants to go to UH (University of Hawaii) to do this. I just used the trip as an excuse to go to Hawaii, I honestly had no business being there. I had NO reason to go…
But, I did and it was amazing. Hawaiians are some of the coolest people in the world. I’d totally move there if it wasn’t so far from the mainland. It was a great transition too. It was definitely the United States; however, it was very Asian and unique. Hell, in a bathroom in Wal-Mart the two janitors were speaking Tagalog to each other! (They said nothing very interesting, but still…) Another reason it was amazing is because I got to couchsurf for the first time!
Sam and I met two very interesting folks and they helped us get around and I had a blast. I’d just couchsurf for the rest of my life if I could. However, I’d also like to have a wife and kids and a home someday. Darn.
Anyway, I left my vacation dreamland and am now here in the mainland U.S. You (as an ex-pat) read all of the reverse culture shock literature and you may nod your head and roll your eyes. However, it’s real. And… it stinks! I was very surprised to find myself not adjusting well to attitudes and some random cultural things over here! Hawaiians were pretty nice it seemed, but as soon as I hit the mainland everyone was rude and jaded and I felt quite small (physically AND figuratively).
I find myself annoyed and worried most of the time. I constantly have a sense of needing to hurry up and rush. However, there is nothing that needs my immediate concern. I find myself with a lack of purpose. I have no idea what I’m doing with my life right now. I mean, I’m not passionless or without goals. However, I feel very powerless and unfocused. I find myself not understanding. You might ask what I’m not understanding. However, I don’t know. I just find myself laying, sitting, talking, and suddenly wondering why nothing makes sense.
Apparently, there is a name for what I’m going through. I mean, yes I AM a returned expatriate trying to readjust. However, I am also a twenty-something kid. Yes, I am going through my quarter-life crisis.
So, in addition to being confused because I just left the Peace Corps after two years of that being my entire life and adjusting to a “new” culture; I’m in transition just because I’m in “that time” of life.
Well, despite my struggles. I am optimistic (as always) and I still see the future as something fun and exciting. Where will my life go now? That’s a taxing state to be in, but it’s also exhilarating. My life can go wherever I would like it to go. And knowing I’m not alone feels pretty good too.
So, whether you’re 10 or 110… our lives are whatever we make of them. Let’s do work! And like Lupe says,”Yeah, I got flaws; I know I’m not perfect. But, all ups and downs will soon be worth it… when I get there”
– Brandon Holly –