Saturday, September 21, 2013


Last week I had coffee with Connie, an older volunteer that I became close with in Albania when we traveled together for the holidays in Italy. Truth: when I grow up I want to be like Connie. When she came back from PC, she bought an RV and for the past two years has been driving it around the country, staying for a few months at a time near friends and family. During our conversation, she asked me about how I have readjusted to life in the US. I had to think a lot about this question. My first answer is "great!" everything is fine! Because that is the easy answer. And things are pretty good for me right now- I have a good job, I have a good place to live, I'm close to my family. I have stopped having panic attacks in the grocery store. The past three years have really been about settling into adulthood- figuring out what I really want to do with my life. So in many ways, readjustment has gone very well for me. There are a few things that I noticed however when I think a little bit more about how my life is different from my life before I left. While I have made many new friends (mostly through camp and school) and have remained close to some of my old friends, I have also noticed that I have grown apart from a lot of people that I used to be very close. Why is this? There are a whole bunch of reasons, I'm sure. I've been away for most of the summers since I've been home, I've been working and in school and am less likely to go out during the school year. I got used to a more solitary life in Albania, too. I value the time I get alone more than I did when I was younger. Some of it may also be my old friends. Many of my friends have gotten married and had kids in the past few years. While this obviously doesn't mean that we can't be friends anymore, it sometimes means that our paths don't cross as much anymore. This was also something I was thinking about a little while ago- in my life BPC (before Peace Corps) there were always tons of activities that my friends organized to get people together- there were parties all the time, regularly scheduled theater, kickball, cooking club, concerts and so many other things. In order to see people,you didn't have to plan or do much, just show up at the party. Now these sorts of things are fewer and farther between, so in order to see people, you have to make an effort and when events do happen, not as many people show up . . .

The timing of this for me is that I noticed the change when I returned from Peace Corps, but I realize that it is also just a sign of getting older and growing up. So it might not just be readjustment to life back in America, but adjustment in general to life as an adult.

Saturday, September 14, 2013


Sunset at Sky High

The spring of 2011 found me home, but I didn't really know what that meant. I had been around the world and wasn't really sure what to do next. With a summer open, I decided to do something I always wanted to do, but never really thought I would, go back to camp. As a child, some of my best memories are of camp. I was that kid, the one that never got homesick because she was just having so much fun. From year to year I kept a list of my counselors real names in a notebook, but I always kept it secret until the end of the week (not my secret to tell). But by high school, my interests had broadened and new activities like marching band made camp harder to do.

The summer of 2011 was epic. I was home. All of a sudden I had a place and a family and I knew that I would keep coming back for as long and as often as they would let me. I grew up at Flying 'G', but Sky High had my heart. 2012 was going to be the best summer . . . Until fire disaster shut camp down and financial disaster kept camp closed. I had a few choices for the summer of 2013- look for a summer job in the city, work for day camp in Denver or look for a new camp to call home (at least for the summer). I knew I wasn't done with camp yet, so I started my search.

I found Barker and thought that it might just be perfect. Only four hours drive from Denver and in the most beautiful part of New Mexico, the Enchanted Circle. It ended up being a very hard summer for a variety of reasons. Construction at camp wasn't finished on schedule, leaving us without a kitchen or showers, we were understaffed for most of the summer and there were lots of difficulties with communication with the council office. But for all that, I still loved camp.

This month I have scheduled three weekends at three different camps- volunteering and working. I highly doubt I will be back in New Mexico next summer (although stranger things have happened) but I do think I will be at camp somewhere. I just can't stay away.