Dear Meredyth,

Happy New Year! Just so you know, I have been in 2013 a total of 7 hours longer than you, so I know what you can expect. It’s hot in 2013; I have a lot of sunburn on my shoulders and nose. Some things in 2013 are better than in 2012, so far I have not hear Call Me Maybe once; other things are no better than before, I still have a lot of down time, people are still quite rude, even when you are trying to help, and lastly I miss home lots more.

This is where my conflict lies, if home is where my heart is I feel like mine is split in two. In America, being at home with you and the family was wonderful, but I did not feel complete, or completely at home. There was always a reminder that my home is also in Africa, the little dusty, cement house that I have made feel like a real home, that’s home too. I love Africa, not all the time but at least everyday I think about how much I love some thing about this place. I love the sky at sunset and sunrise, the free time do what I want or not do anything, the certain people in my village that remind me why I wanted to come in the first place. Part of my heart is here to stay.

The other part of me wants to go back to America right now now (this is Setswana talk for ‘right now for real’). Home where my friends and family are close by. Home where I can walk around a city all day, drop in for coffee on any corner, sit undisturbed on a park bench ready. Home where I have so many opportunities everyday; it’s so easy to have no down time at all in America, there is so much to do! Home where I could get a job or go back to school or just really get started with my adult life. These are things I day dream about in my African home.

Is the grass always greener on the other side? I can tell you there is hardly any grass to see at all on the African side, where there is grass it’s usually filled with sharp nettles that stick in my feet.

I was contemplating these two homes last night while I was doing yoga (I have a hard time “clearing my mind”). It struck me that maybe having two places that I call home is not so bad. Maybe this ‘spell in Africa’ is how I am starting my life? I was pensive all night thinking about this, I sat thinking about it for an hour while watching the sun down and reading. My conclusion is that this life isn’t so bad at all.

I am figuring out what I want in life, to travel, to help people. I am starting my career, like a really long boring internship. I am doing all those things you should do when you graduate from college but I instead of working a desk job I talk about safe sex, gender equality and nutrition. I get to color with children or read books with them all day if I want to. I get to choose exactly what I want to do each day.

I don’t know many other entry level jobs that allows that much autonomy. The hard part about this job is stirring up the energy in me to motivate other people to do their jobs and help out too. After 16 months working as a Peace Corps Volunteer I have learned that even though it can be exhausting, daunting, to go out and do work, I feel way more positive when I do. I have never been able to do nothing for long periods of time, I don’t even like to sit for too long. So each day I make a choice to leave my house to find something to do or someone to talk with, I come back feeling way better about my home in Africa (usually).

With all my love,

Julia

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