The first loss was my room mate. I introduced her to you in a past post. Her first name is my middle name and that made us instant friends. Both being younger sisters of a much cooler older sister brought more bonding. Living in the same house for 10 weeks without any conflict means we were meant to be. Now she is back in the D.C. area and I am still here. I remember the time I told her I would still have a year here after she left. I'm here to say that as of today I will actually have OVER a year left.
Living with Michelle taught me a lot about myself. Mainly, I like to wash dishes more than normal people. Also, I clean a lot, but my house doesn't look any cleaner. Mainly, she taught me that I talk about cleaning A LOT. Weird cleaning.... like, I'm going to scrub the stairs. I mention it again the next day. Three days later I wake up at 7 a.m. and I begin scrubbing the stairs on my hands and knees with a
She is also the person I discovered my new city with. We moved into the house I live in on the same day. One of us didn't want to sleep alone in a weird new house, so we decided we should just sleep in the house together from then on. Tonight marks the first night I am sleeping in my home alone. Weird.
Michelle was also my peek into what a new PCV must feel like. She wasn't a volunteer, but she went through the same cultural shocks I did when I first arrived. Sometimes volunteers have access to a newbie volunteer, but that is typically only for a weekend. I was able to watch her develop from, "Hey, so this is a carro. You should expect three people to sit in the front." to "...we could probably get a fourth in there." It was wonderful, and funny.
She was the person I developed an acceptance for cats with, and the first person I've shared a pet with as an adult. Adorable. We are super cute. I miss her already. The time was too short. She better have a couch for me to sleep on back in America one day.
The other friends I lost we some of my favorite people I've encountered in life. You know how they say you should appreciate your grandparents? Well, I never really had grandparents, so I was always jealous of those that did... I now see why they are so important. (Seriously, Dads and Grandparents... and Mom's. Make sure you appreciate them if you have good ones.)
Hannah is a German born beauty who immigrated to Canada with her load of children many years ago. There she met Tony, first generation Canadian from Canada (I think that's how I should say that), who came with three little bundles of his own. Together the pair has traveled the world and collected enough stories to keep you busy for an afternoon. I spent many a Sunday traveling to Sosua to hear their tales of gorillas in Africa, golfing in Canada, and great wine in Italy. They've ridden camels, trekked through Chinese cities, and had their shorts stolen by an animal in Africa.
Knowing Hannah means knowing generosity. She also makes me want to learn German so we can watch the German Judge Judy together. Knowing Tony probably means I drink wine more often, but it is so worth it. A gentle man who holds so many ideas in his mind. I think there is something to hearing the lessons of life from those who are older than you. They have listened to my many thoughts and shared their opinion. They have encouraged me to be a leader in life, saying I am in charge of my own future. They told me they expect me to have as many stories as they do one day. What I love about their life is they had many children... I want to say 10, and they still found time to travel in life. They found time to be involved with the global community. What respect I hold for them. I hold them very high in my books.
Basically, I think people are going to come and go in my life. That is a part of it. What I think this means is that I have to appreciate the moments we do have. When I was with Hannah and Tony I couldn't help but set down my phone, listen to their stories, and ask questions. Be present. They remind me of that constantly.
Now, I guess I'll just have to remember to enjoy their memories when I use my new cutting board and think of Michelle every time I kick the cat out of the house.