Okay, I know it’s almost the middle of January, but I still haven’t done my Year-in-Review post and I feel like I need to, for no other reason than to remember what all happened in glorious 2010. I wrote one for 2009 and am glad I’ve documented it. Some of the major events included the end of my Peace Corps service, returning to the US again after 2 years and beginning graduate school in London. It’s easy to forget all that you have done until you take the time to reflect. 2010 was another successful and fulfilling year. Here’s hoping for 2011!
January: I got my hair braided and became une vraie africaine. That same day, I received my acceptance to the LSE. Few weeks later, I made a decision. At the time, I had planned to pursue my second year of the dual degree at Sciences Po, but now I am now crossing my fingers that Columbia SIPA will accept me, again. I am ready to be on the U.S. soil for a while! Another post about this, at another time.
February: I spent the better part of the month trying to get a container of 23,000 books to arrive, and dealing with the logistics of distributing them to 30 libraries. This was the month where I really got a good taste of the Cameroonian bureaucracy. Yet while jumping through all the hoops, I realized I have had a change of perception than when I first arrived in Cameroon.I also finished the third round of business classes!
March: I celebrated International Women’s Day with my village mamas. And miraculously, those 577 boxes of books successfully arrived and we had a lovely ceremony to distribute them. The Books For Cameroon team worked so hard and I was so proud of us. Just in time to celebrate, we headed to our Close-of-Service Conference with the rest of our training group. Peace Corps put us up in a nice hotel and fed us delicious food.
April: I received all of my grad school decisions. Even though I got into all but Yale, my decisions remained with the LSE because it was the most economically sensible option. After COS conference, I took one last trip to Kribi with my PC loves. I realized just how lucky I have found this group of people.
May: More travel ensued in this month as I traveled to the capital a few more times to take care of business. Even at the end of my service, I was still driven crazy by Cameroonian modes of transportation. My flight home was confirmed and the reality of the end of my time in Cameroon began to loom over me.
June: The World Cup was going on and Cameroon was one of the few African teams. I spent a lot of time during this month watching the games at Cameroonian bars and enjoying the pure bliss of Cameroonian life. When I wasn’t watching the games, I was tying the loose ends and prepping for my imminent departure. So sad.
July: I spent time showing my replacement, Cristina, around, and cherishing every last moment in my village. Leaving that place was the hardest thing I have yet endured. Incredible feeling. Spent the last week with my wonderful Peace Corps loves before we all parted ways heading stateside. I experienced some very funny reversed culture shocks.
August: First time back in the U.S. in two years. I went on a lovely vacation with my family and caught up with friends in the East Coast. Meanwhile, getting over the fact I was au village no more and tried the best I could to mentally prepare for grad school.
September: ready or not, I boarded that plane and headed to London. Grad school is no joke, but I was enjoying being back in London after so many years and taking it all in for what it’s worth. September consisted of only pre-sessional courses and those were enough to make me feel overwhelmed.
October: real classes were in full swing and I was trying to find a good rhythm for my life in London. I’ve met a good group of friends and attempted my best to make everyday as fulfilling as possible. Every now and again, it surprises me that I was in fact, in London. My life in Cameron was fading quickly, and it was all too surreal.
November: Juliette visited me and brought back memories of our time in Batié. I was glad to have a piece of Cameroon back in my life. Spent yet another Thanksgiving abroad. This one was harder than usual, however.
December: Michaelmas term somehow ended and I was relieved. Siobhan visited me on her way home from Cameroon! I then spent a week in Tunisia before heading home for the holidays – at last! Being home this time made me realized how much I miss the U.S., or rather, how much I miss being closer to friends and family. Ringing in the New Year with Peace Corps loves only further confirmed that feeling. I ended the year knowing a little more about myself, and began the new year with much to look forward to!