Sunday, September 9, 2012


Hi (again) everyone!

I wanted to post an article I'm submitting to our national Peace Corps newsletter.  I had something of an epiphany while listening to music last night and cooking by candlelight with Ryan.  Since it kinda follows up some of the thoughts on my last post, here it is!

Thanks for reading - we love and miss you all!


All This Beauty

I’ve been in Uganda over eighteen months now, and I’ll be completely honest that I’ve been at a bit of a low for the last week or so.  Since the beginning of May, we traveled on an incredible trip to Italy, spent time with each of our families, hosted the last of our visitors (two of my very best friends!), and jumped into a school term that was unbelievably fulfilling and busy.  It’s been difficult to come off of all of those wonderful experiences.  Even if we know it’s not completely true, it’s hard to imagine that the next six or seven months in Uganda will have anything to offer that can even compare to the excitement of what we’ve already experienced.  And, naturally, many stresses and frustrations with Uganda are compiling by this point, directly impacting my feelings toward public transportation, mzungu crazed children, and people outside of our close community.  All of that to say, I’ve been finding that my usually very positive self has, in the last week or so been…not so positive.

Today we traveled home from All Vol.  On the way, I talked with a great friend who is about to COS.  Among the many things we talked about, he shared with me that he’s trying to really take in all the beauty and amazing opportunities that his last month in Uganda will hold.  Then, tonight I was cooking homemade flour tortillas with Ryan by candlelight, listening to The Weepies, and was totally struck by the words of one of my favorite of their songs – All This Beauty.

All this beauty
You might have to close your eyes
And slowly open wide
All this beauty, we traveled all night
We drank the ocean dry
And watched the sun rise

You can ask about it, but nobody knows the way
No breadcrumb trail to follow through your days
It takes an axe, sometimes a feather
In the sunshine and bad weather
It's a matter of getting deeper in, any way you can

I can see your new awake
Let me assure you friend:
Every day is ice cream and chocolate cake
And what you make of it, let me say
You get what you take from it so be amazed
And never stop, never stop, never stop
You gotta be brave

I must have listened to it four or more times (thank goodness for a patient husband!), and couldn’t believe what I was hearing – it was as if the song was speaking directly to me, reminding me of what I know to be true about my Peace Corps service: My experience depends entirely on what I put into it; nobody can give me a bread crumb trail to follow through service; the experience is so rich and fulfilling, even with the plentiful amounts of both sunshine and bad weather.  It might take closing my eyes and reopening them to truly appreciate the beauty around me.  And, ultimately, I’ve got to be brave.  Every day I get deeper in, and it really is about seeing the beauty surrounding me and appreciating the sweetness of my days here, even if there’s not a lot of ice cream and chocolate cake! 

I know that as things pick up at the school and in the community, opportunities will surprise me, relationships will continue to develop, and I will frequently be reminded why I have often said that I really do *love* being a PCV in Uganda.  Even in the week since I hit my low, my feelings and attitude have improved tremendously.  And, when the hard times come – and they inevitably will – I’ll try to stay focused on “All This Beauty” surrounding us in the people and the places of Uganda. 

When it comes down to it, I think we all can learn a lesson from The Weepies – whether remaining with days, months, or years, Peace Corps service in Uganda really is an incredible experience full of truly beautiful moments.

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