Finally checked off the bucket list: hiking through farms in the hills of Westmoreland
Finally checked off the bucket list: hiking through farms in the hills of Westmoreland

There is quite a lot involved to join the Peace Corps. Months of paperwork, packing, saying goodbye, the multitude of tasks involved in putting your life “on hold…” With our two year mark approaching this week, we are now learning that there is almost as much effort necessary to leave the Peace Corps as well.

After much anticipation, we recently learned that our requested Close of Service date was approved, so we will be heading back to the States at the very end of April. (Our original COS date was later in May, but we requested to leave earlier so that it would coincide with the end of the Jamaican school term and allow us time to visit a lot of people on our way home.)

We’re extremely excited for our return home, but we’ll share more about that later on.

In the meantime, we are still in the midst of tutoring at school (Michelle) and teaching computer lessons at the community center (Jedd) as well as wrapping up other little side projects. This week we have dentist and doctor’s appointments in Kingston to wrap up our Close of Service medical. (And it looks like we’ll be at the PC Office when the brand new group of trainees arrives to the island, so that’s exciting!)

Our bucket list before we leave Jamaica is getting shorter. We’ve started to hear talk around our workplaces about farewell gatherings. Close of Service paperwork and reports for PC are piling up. And community members have started to spontaneously tell us that they’re going to miss us and ask us if we will be coming back.

We’ve done our best to integrate into the community around us for the past two years. Now, we have to make sure that when we take ourselves out of the picture, we don’t accidentally undo some of the positive things we’ve worked on here. Doing it right takes intentionality and planning, so we’re working on that.

chinese? jamaican shop
With our transition fast approaching, I’ve been reflecting on some of the things I’ll be going home to- things I’ve lived without for two years now. Here are a few.

#1. Friends and Family, of course!

2. Things I literally have not done since being in Jamaica:

  • Seeing the seasonal changes of fall and spring
  • Streaming a video online without it freezing up or costing money per megabite
  • Going to a church service that’s done in under 2 hours
  • Going to a Thai or Vietnamese restaurant (or my favorite: Jade!)
  • Working on a laptop in a coffeeshop
  • Putting groceries in my car and being able to make other stops on the way home
  • Wearing mascara, eye shadow, or blush (not that this occurs regularly at home either)

3. Other things I’m going home to that I may have experienced just once or twice while here:

  • Blending in with a crowd
  • Sleeping under a comforter
  • Putting clothes in a dryer
  • Having more than one running route
  • Using a microwave (honestly, I don’t really miss this)
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