Last week I finally completed my Peace Corps service after three years in Cameroon. I left the country Friday night and arrived back in the US late on Saturday night. Since then I’ve been resting up at my mother’s home, getting reacclimated and organized.
As some of you have noticed, I stopped updating this blog about six months ago. The last year has been very challenging. It’s a long story, but mostly I had just reached the burnout point and didn’t feel like writing about the difficulties I was having. At some point when I’ve had some more time to rest and reflect I’ll write more about the last few months and what was going on. For now I’ll just say that I have been ready to come home for a while and I’m glad to finally be back.
I also took some valuable lessons from Cameroon. I learned that it’s possible to live much more simply than we do and to have a good life without so many of the shiny toys and frivolous luxuries we waste so much precious time and money chasing. I also believe my time in Cameroon has made me a much stronger, wiser, and more independent person. That alone probably made it worth the trip.
Perhaps most importantly, I gained a renewed appreciation of my own country. It somehow feels appropriate that I returned home on the 4th of July. I think you have to leave America for a country like Cameroon for a while to really appreciate the greatest strengths of our country. It’s not the money or shiny electronics or McMansions that make America a great country. It’s the tremendous amount of freedom and opportunity we enjoy. We have our problems of course and should always be trying to improve ourselves, but living in Cameroon has repeatedly impressed on me just how much opportunity we Americans have to live our lives the way we want and just how much is possible here.
As for what comes next, I haven’t decided yet. In the short term, I plan to spend the rest of the summer in the US, visiting friends and family and getting used to being back in America. I’m used to daily life in Cameroon at this point, so I know it will take me some time before things here feel “normal” again.
I plan to do some traveling again this fall and then come back home to spend the holidays with my friends and family for the first time in three years. After that it will be time to start working again, although I haven’t figured out yet exactly what I’ll be doing. No matter what I do in the future though, I know I’ll always benefit from what I have seen and learned over the last three years.
I will try to start doing some more blog posts about Cameroon in the not too distant future so you can catch up on some of what I saw and did over there, even if it’s well after the fact. Better late then never right?
Thanks for reading.