When you join Peace Corps, two years doesn’t seem long. But as time wears on, you feel yourself slowly shrinking away from the world. There comes a point when you realize you are living in a small fishbowl off in some dark corner of a forgotten room. Life moves on around you, but no one really takes notice of you anymore. They learn to live without you. They move on. They keep in touch, but the memory of you starts to fade. You’re just a shadow of a memory chasing the pavement on a cloudy day. As the time slowly reaches the two year mark, your shadow comes back into focus. They start to remember where they left that fish. The excitement returns. You’re back in their life.
It’s that period of time when you feel like a distant memory that just aches. Your shadow tries incessantly to jump up and down, “I’m still here!” I never left, I’m just somewhere else.