I just made it home from a very long journey. There’s nothing quite like visiting your latrine and thinking “I missed this.” I had to do a lot of cleaning, but once the place was dust free I felt whole again. I sat down on my bed, sighed and kicked off my shoes. I’m home.
As I sat down wondering what to do now, I checked my email. A friend sent me a Ted Talk that he thought I’d like. I downloaded it and listened intently as the speaker revealed exactly what my life has been like. The talk was about what “home” is. When someone asks you: “where’s home?” How do you answer? Is home where you were born? Or where you currently live? Is it where you pay your bills? Is it where you studied?
That’s a hard question for me to answer. What do I consider home? I grew up in two countries. I currently live in Ghana, but my service is slowly coming to an end. Is home where I’ll end up once I’m done with Peace Corps? The speaker went on to say “home is the place where you become yourself.” I like that idea. Home truly is where you keep your soul. For me that’s my spot on Earth where I can have peace and quiet, and where I can be alone. I need alone time. I need the ability to separate myself from the hustle and bustle going on around me. That’s home to me, where I can be with myself. The speaker continued to talk about stopping to enjoy the silence and stillness, instead of constantly moving. I feel like that’s the thing that always grounds me here in Ghana. We have more than enough free time as volunteers. We have more than enough time to contemplate. I’ve used the time to really discover who’s underneath the fabulous Ghanaian clothes. I revel in the silence.
I’ve found my form of meditation as well, my own form of zen: tro travel. I put my headphones on, zone out, and spend the entire trip just thinking. I remember happy memories from my service. I recall events that stood out in my life. I use the time to learn from my experiences, to reflect. If I’ve learned anything during my time in Peace Corps, it is how to learn from your mistakes.
I’m incredibly grateful for my Peace Corps service. It truly has taught me how to relax, reflect, and grow. Last week one of the Peace Corps staff members commented on how much I’ve changed since I’ve been here. High-strung me has all but gone, she appears every once in a while in very stressful situations though. I’ve learned to cope with circumstances beyond my control. I’ve learned to be a better team player. I’ve learned the value of good leadership. I’ve learned to live with very little. I’ve learned to appreciate fate. I’ve also learned the meaning of home.
Home is truly where you become yourself. Whether it is in curled up in a ball on my bed, wrapped up in a hug, or where my thoughts lead me – home is where I feel at ease.
Right now, home is sitting in my house in Ghana listening to Oklahoma country eating German chocolate.