“Do you have any bread?” the sweat-beaded youth of no more than 11 asked.
“No, I’m sorry.”
I had bread, but it was wheat, and I assumed that kids only liked white in this country- along with white people, white shoes, and white sugar. (This is a generalization).
As he was leaving my porch, after guzzling some ice water, continuing his Saturday morning door-to-door produce rounds, I felt bad for lying, and not giving him a piece of bread. I wanted to yell after him, “Oy, come back.” But I had just woken up from a deep sleep and had not processed that I was here. In St. Vincent and the Grenadines… in Peace Corps.
For me to yell back, to invite this hard working boy who had earned his calories in bread and then some before I had pulled my morning curtains, was to yell back to St. Vincent. My sleepy state wanted to stay in blissful ignorance for just a few minutes longer…
I like it here. St. Vincent is beautiful beyond belief, and not a day passes without thinking how fortunate I am to live in such an aesthetically pleasing island nation. But some mornings, like this morning, I wanted to get back to that dream. That dream where I was home, with people I love, predictability, comfort, and Whole Foods. In all honesty, I feel guilty for feeling this way. I have only been here (just shy of) four months, but the whole two years thing scares me. TWO YEARS! Current PCVs say it flies by, and the busier you get, the quicker it goes. So I am trying to get busy because I am homesick. Not unhappy, but missing you.
Mom always tells me to “bloom where I am planted.” I have wanted to do Peace Corps for a very long time, and want to believe that this is exactly where I am supposed to be at this exact time. Although not quite what I was expecting in terms of the experience (right now I am sitting in my morning lit living room overlooking the calm Caribbean Sea, songbirds greeting butterflies on banana leaves while Isla chews her rawhide on the deck), I do believe that everything happens for a reason.
Me coming to terms with being here for 23 more months is part of the growing I need to do- to be okay where I am, and to explore and embrace the reality surrounding me. This is a practice I can begin to cultivate here, and carry with me beyond this experience- to be present, appreciative, and at peace.