It's funny how many times I've found words to be insuffient. So to share the last week in my home, with my family, I will show simply with pictures. And do my best with words. Forgive me if you're left with questions or wanting more. But at least you should know that you're not alone in that.
The river trip. My going-away party. My incredible friends and family planned it all and told me nothing. Made reservations at a beautiful private river. Invited even the "close" PCVs to join us. We piled into this truck and we're off, food, pots, pans, plateware, and a gift all at our feet.
The gift? One of those pressure cookers that cook beans way faster then normal (like hours faster). Less gas. Saves money. Believe it or not I was the original winner of said pressure cooker when we had our most recent raffle for the library. But as soon as my number was pulled out, 111, despite how much I had actually wanted it, I said no. I truly had only bought the ticket to support the library. Winning was not the reason. So it went to a wonderful, hysterical guy my age from my community. So when they handed my a big, wrapped, box at the river. I knew what it was. They had known I wanted it. And got me one anyways.
Then there was the first "clean-up" at the office. I had begged them to plan it for before I left. Just one last thing I wanted to be a part of. And we did it. I and many others made the first big, visible move in transforming this abandoned office into a library and computer center. One that I pray for nearly everyday.
If you only knew the difference one day made. Though it may not look like it.
Then there was the day before I left. I had promised a few of my favorites (sorry) we would make rubber-band bracelets. Oh and did we. We started out just three of us but at one point I think I had 15 munchkins crammed into my little living area. It was perfection. And seeing them all day with 5 or 6 colorful bracelets on their wrists and ankles... Priceless. Thanks gram.
Then the goodbyes. The photos I gave out. Double goodbyes. Tears. And my boys stealing my camera.
It's amazing that so much love doesn't make your heart stop. Sometimes it feels like it will. But I keep waking up every morning. As if I deserve to continue receiving such blessings and so much love in return.
Saturday morning. I finished packing. Was in a complete haze. Hardly seeing straight. My sister came by. She wanted one last photo in front of the office. I thought I had time. But while we were there, I saw the white truck go by towards my house. It was time. I ran. And when I got there, I was no help in packing it up. I'm not even sure who was. I hugged more, cried more, and spun in so many circles. Francheska was hyperventilating. I couldn't get TinTin to calm down. I was shaking uncontrollably. And when I finally got in the truck and we drove off, I realized that Baraquito had been nowhere in sight. Or had I been blinded to him? I called Yoelbi frantically. He told me he had been hiding behind the mango tree. Crying. I told him to hug him for me and tell how incredibly sorry I was for not saying goodbye. My stomach flipped. We made one last stop to see my sister's kids, the twins trying once again to wrap me up with a belt. Just as they did the night before. And then we were off.
I didn't imagine it that way. I felt so disconnected and yet so connected in that fleeting moment. But as much as my eyes still well up and my throat clenches when I think about it, I wouldn't have had it any other way. They were my life. They were my everything in this last year and a half. I would go back and do it all over again, if not better, even if it meant hurting so much all over again.