One year and five months later I found myself alone in an apartment reading a book but not processing anything, anticipating the arrival of my brother and my sister in-law. I left New York telling myself that two years really isn't that much time. Since high school life has been passing in two year increments. Two years of community college was followed by two years at university which was slightly extended into my two years of miscellaneous before joining yet another two year stint, Peace Corps. Each of those time periods seemed to fly by without notice and I was excited to be moving on to the next two years, only two years.
I've realized that this time period will not fly by without notice. This time there is a variable within this two year increment that makes me realize that two years is kind of a long time. That variable is home and seeing family, some "home" faces, helped me realize for the first time ever that two years is actually quite a bit of time.
It was a bit shocking seeing some familiar faces. Sure, I see these faces over skype from time to time, but it isn't the same. At least that is what I would always tell myself before but now I actually know. No matter how much I like skype it doesn't hold a candle to a nice face to face interaction, especially when it's been well over a year since that last face to face interaction. Leading up to meeting my brother and sister in-law I did have a bit of anxiety but I quickly realized that family will always be family and it doesn't take long to regain that feeling of comfort.
My trip to Venice was not about canals, gondolas, churches, and tourists like I once imagined, but about getting the chance to see some family. In seeing Joe and Allison in person I truly felt that even though I am gaining so much by working in Romania, I am missing out on something important. There comes a time in a lot of peoples life when they have to move out and be more independent and it is no doubt that joining PC was the true beginning of that time in my life. Moving out does not have to mean for two years, and does not have to mean to the other side of the world. In seeing Joe and Allison I embraced home but I also missed home more than I have since coming to Romania. For the first time this year I wasn't totally sold on the possibility of extending my service.
This doesn't mean that I regret my decision to join Peace Corps at all. It is part of a path that I have chosen for myself that I have truly enjoyed from day one. It does mean that in choosing this path I have made sacrifices and it is only fair to finally face some of those sacrifices. After a beautiful rainy and overcast 3 days in Venice I said "so long" to Joe and Allison before boarding on the day's first bus out. It wasn't at all a sad goodbye. I had gone seventeen months without seeing them and only had ten left until our next meeting. Ten months, no sweat.
Thanks Joe and Allison for the great time in Venice and for taking time in your trip to meet up with me.