I’m really not sure how this happened, but today marks one year since a plane full of MAK19s touched down in Macedonia.
I’ve been trying to write this blog for a couple of days now and I just can’t figure it out.
I thought about doing a blog by the numbers of what I’d missed in America: 12 engagements, two weddings, four babies, and two deaths.
I thought about recreating the six month recap I did. I’ve read 30+ books in the last six months and still have no idea what I want to do after Peace Corps, but possibly a road tripping food truck. (This builds on my thoughts at six months to go to grad school for brunch studies.)
I thought about trying to answer some of the questions that have been posed by family and friends about how I’ve changed, how others’ perceptions of me have changed, and what new dreams I have in my heart. These are all really tough to nail down. I know I’m shifting on the extrovert/introvert scale. I know I’m more patient. I know my wanderlust has grown. I know that my priorities are changing. I’m pretty sure I feel more feels. I know I’m going to be a better person for having had this experience, but I can’t exactly articulate why.
Then, I got distracted and listened to “Seasons of Love” and the Rent soundtrack for a while.
I could try to measure this year in cups of (Turkish) coffee, but they are just innumerable.
This year has just been a wondrous series of little moments. My friend Susan blogged recently that she often finds herself stopping in the midst of something and wanting to pause time there for a while. She calls them infinity moments. I love that. I have them too.
The novelty of a new place has worn off. I remember to put the toilet paper in the trash all the time. (That was tough in the beginning.) I can catch a bus on the side of the road and most of the time, I have a pretty good idea of what people are saying to me. (Okay, maybe not most, but a lot of the time.) Even after a year here though, at least once a week I find myself looking around and saying, “This is my life,” or “I live here.” (And most of the time it’s a positive thing.)
I visited my PST family recently and it was a great benchmark for my experience so far. Whereas while I lived there I answered most questions with “good” or “no good” and a healthy dose of charades, now I can carry on conversation and understand the world around me. My host nephew who was born just after I arrived is about to turn one and he’s walking and crawling everywhere. My family there still has our picture on display and they’re still telling everyone they know about that time I told them “I don’t kiss” instead of “I don’t smoke.”
I made ajvar this weekend with my family in Orizari and I was involved from start to finish. Baba came over and we made pickles while the ajvar cooked. My friends Rachel and Katie dropped by too. (It’s always all hands on deck for ajvar making.) It was a really relaxing afternoon, focusing on the pepper process and joking with my family. We all took a turn stirring the pot as the savory pepper spread came together and when it was time to taste, my host dad handed me the spoon. (Obviously, the more ajvar I eat the better, so I was pleased.) Then baba asked me if it needed salt.
Now this sounds like a minor thing, but when you spend all day roasting, peeling, grinding, and cooking 20 kilos of ajvar, adjusting the salt is huge.
It was one of my infinity moments. I felt like such a part of my family here.
So that’s a year for me. I still make language flubs and get confused about how things work, but I live here. This is my life and I love all my little infinity moments. This is home and I’m excited about another year of adventures.