Posted by: pckatie | January 16, 2015

Life as a Returned Peace Corps Volunteer!

Happy New Year!  I hope that everyone had a wonderful holiday season with friends and family!  I am writing to you from beautiful Phoenix, Arizona!  I have been back in the US for nearly two months now and the time has absolutely FLOWN by!  I have been busy catching up with friends and family, enjoying the holidays, and getting my feet back on the ground after two years away.

After 27 months....I'M HOME!

After 27 months….I’M HOME!

My three favorite people waiting at the airport!

My three favorite people waiting at the airport!

HOME!

HOME!

You know the saying ‘a picture is worth a thousand words’, so here are some pictures of the highlights from my first two months back in the US!

Long awaited shopping spree.

Long awaited shopping spree!

Hadn't touched a piano in over two years...so happy!

Hadn’t touched a piano in over two years…so happy!

Welcome home in California!

Welcome home in California!

Reunited with Grandma just in time to celebrate her 89th birthday!

Reunited with Grandma just in time to celebrate her 89th birthday!

Thanksgiving/Birthday celebration with the family in California.

Thanksgiving/Birthday celebration with the family in California.

Reunion with the best friend at the Andrew McMahon concert!

Reunion with the best friend at the Andrew McMahon concert!

Nutcracker Ballet with Lindsey!

Nutcracker Ballet with Lindsey!

Gingerbread party.

Gingerbread party.

Back at it with my partner in crime.

Back at it with my partner in crime.

Christmas morning in matching PJs :)

Christmas morning in matching PJs 🙂

The ladies at Christmas dinner!

The ladies at Christmas dinner!

Christmas party (aka Friendsmas)!

Christmas party (aka Friendsmas)!

My bests at Friendsmas!

With my favorite ladies at Friendsmas!

Las Vegas!

Las Vegas!

After a month trapped in the house with no car....I bought my first ever new car!  A 2015 Hyundai Elantra!

Bought my first ever new car, a 2015 Hyundai Elantra!

Celebrating the car with my personal car price negotiator!  This guy drives a hard bargin!

Celebrating the car with my personal car price negotiator! This guy drives a hard bargain!

New Years Eve with good wine and great people!

New Years Eve with good wine and great people!

During Peace Corps training they talk a lot about something called ‘reverse culture shock’.  Everyone expects to experience culture shock when they move to another country, but what people often don’t think about is the reverse culture shock that can occur when a person returns to their home country after an extended period abroad.  This can be different for everyone and lucky for me, I have adjusted back to life in the states relatively quickly and easily!

Of course there are a few little adjustments like remembering that in the states you can throw toilet paper into the toilet, getting into the habit of saying ‘dollar’ instead of ‘mil’, having one million greek yogurt options at the grocery store, etc.  Besides these small things, one of the biggest differences I notice since being home is that I have a greater appreciation for many things that I definitely took for granted before my time in Peace Corps.  Whether it is the ease of doing laundry, the abundance of clean water, the safety/cleanliness of where I live, or the joy I get from spending time with friends and family….I am reminded daily of how fortunate I am and remember to be grateful for all that I have.

While I am so happy to be home, I still miss Colombia and the wonderful people that became a part of my life there, but thanks to the wonders of modern technology I am able to keep in touch pretty regularly.  I know that someday I will travel to Colombia to visit and I am excited for the day that I get to return to the place and people that I came to love so much.

I want to keep this blog as a memoir of my time in the Peace Corps, so I will not be continuing to write here.  I plan on posting one last update in the coming months, so be on the lookout for the final farewell!

 
Until next time…..paz y amor.

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