The last month went by fast. Real fast.

I’m happy to be returning to Madagascar, but I’m going to miss California. It’s strange how a place that I hadn’t been to for over two years will always be familiar and comforting; home. It was so great being able to see family and friends (even if it was brief at times) and just re-connect with my other life, my other world.

Being home also helped me step back for a moment and see what I’ve been doing for the past two years and what I really hope to accomplish in the next year. It’s funny because I was told that I would come home and people wouldn’t want to hear about my experience. And, for a good portion of the time, that was true. But I was very happy and honored that so many friends and family members continually asked questions and wanted to know about my Peace Corps experience. More shockingly to myself, I actually didn’t really care to share what I’ve been doing, but was more interested in hearing what other people have been doing. It wasn’t that I didn’t want to share, I just don’t really like talking about myself. The transition for home leave was much easier than I had feared. Besides, how can anyone complain with hot showers, electricity, cars, food variety and the fact that I was on vacation! (not to mention that my family members are all saints and housed and fed me for pretty much every waking minute).

As I went back to the future I really enjoyed just relaxing. It was nice to just get away from things in California. I really do work 7 days a week with Peace Corps (although I might not be clocking too many hours some days) and it was nice to just have a break. I didn’t have to think in a different language (albeit close to fluent, I still have to think more to speak Malagasy rather than English), I wasn’t stared at, I got to sleep till whatever time I wanted to wake up, I escaped the cold, gloomy winter of Andapa and exchanged it for a sunny California summer, and I got to see a bunch of old friends and catch up with everything that I had left behind. Quite the run on sentence, I know, I was busy.

It was great seeing people that I hadn’t seen in over two years. Some people that I’ve hardly even spoken to in the past two years and we were still be able to hang out; as if it had only been two days. Nice to know that despite the amount of change that happens in our lives that we are still more or less the same people.

I think that my return to Madagascar will be difficult. I’ll have to adjust to life over there all again. I really don’t know what to expect. I would like to think that it will be easier, but part of me thinks that it will be more difficult. It’s one thing to go and live somewhere. It’s a totally different feeling to go back. It’s a decision, one that I realize as more and more time passes become more and more important. The future – something I’d really rather not think about but wasn’t blessed with the disposition to ignore it.

At least I felt more prepared packing this time. I actually know where I’m going and what will be useful. The only problem is that I’m in a constant war with myself over things that I want and things that I need (some things don’t change). Really, I only had a problem because I didn’t have that much stuff. If I was planning to bring an entire house full of things then I would definitely bring two bags. However, I didn’t really want to bring that much and so I was trying to figure out what would make the cut to fit in one bag. I am cheating a little bit because my brother is coming to visit in November and I’ve already started putting together a bag for him to bring when he visits.

I’m much more modern this time around as well. I’ve upgraded my backpack (I went 2 years with a backpack that should have been thrown away before I got on the plane to go to Madagascar), I got a kindle, a new camera, as well as some clothing. I’m such a vazaha.

More than anything it’s nice to feel more prepared this time around.

I’m back in Mada August 20th and then back in the Basin August 22nd!!!