I remember the day I sat down and started this blog. Thinking to myself, “I wonder what I’ll be doing,” and “What is Bulgaria like?” It doesn’t seem like it was so long ago that I decided to keep this blog, and I hope, whoever you are out there, have enjoyed reading it. Through my ups and downs, my craziness and boredom, my anxiety and stress, joy and tears.
My time in Bulgaria is nearly over, and I’ll be returning back to America in a little under two weeks. I am not quite sure how the days passed by so quickly – and to be honest, I can’t fathom the fact that I did celebrate Thanksgiving, that November is nearly over. Where did Halloween go? I mean, maybe it’s because I didn’t dress up this year, or go to the annual Peace Corps Volunteer Halloween party that I lost an entire month. It doesn’t feel like I can possibly be so close to returning home. And at the same time, I am about to go home!!
I don’t really know what my emotions are doing these days. Sometimes I wonder if I am feeling the way I am “supposed” to feel, whatever that means. Perhaps I am not experiencing the anxiety and stress of leaving because I have dealt with so much of the two in the last few months that there is no more left in me. My playground project has been finished, and with a deep sigh of relief, the leaves fall to the ground. The crisp morning air brings me back to the reality that winter is coming, and with the snow, I will return home. Thoughts of home, family and friends make me smile, and perhaps I can never truly be able to express in words how this experience has changed me and how much I will miss this place. I am leaving a part of my heart here – not because I feel obligated, but because Bulgaria is a part of me that I will never forget. I am thankful that I am so organized, so I can spend my last days here really enjoying the beauty of this country and people without the worry that comes along with the Close Of Service for Peace Corps Volunteers. I have completed all my official paperwork to become a “normal” citizen again – now I just have to wait for midnight on the fateful day which will return me to where I came from (at least, in the geographical sense). I won’t cry when I go, but I will always miss this place until I return. Someday, I promise. I will.
But back to the feelings – I have done a lot of research on “reverse culture shock” and as far as I can tell, I am as prepared to deal with it as I’ll ever be. I know the “stages,” and “feelings,” that those I have read say they experienced. Right now though, with so little time left, I don’t really feel much. I am thankful that all my preparation to return Stateside has paid off. I have an apartment lined up, my top-choice nursing program application has been received, I registered for courses at the community college, my apartment is nearly spotless, and my bags are packed. I guess I had expected to feel more at this point than I do. It seems like everyone I watched return to America was extremely stressed about the whole process, or overwhelmingly relieved that they were on their way home. Watching my dear friends return home made me feel more depressed than I do now, and I am not sure how I feel about not feeling as sad as I did when they left. Of course, it could always be that I was more sad that they were leaving than anything else – but who’s to say how I am “supposed” to feel about all this? I have changed so much, maybe I was expecting to be my previously high-strung self throughout this process. But at this moment in time, I am just going with it, and trying to absorb every last minute here like a sponge.
So that is how I’ll leave you, Bulgaria – the same way I came here – and how I’ll end this chapter in my book. Smiling, and looking at my surroundings with the wide-eyed wonder of a child. There is so much beauty in the world, and I tomorrow is another day that I am lucky enough to get to embrace it! Carpe diem!
Family and friends, I’ll see you soon. Are you ready, America?
Until next time…