In Runyankore, “ninsiima” literally means “I am appreciating.” Today, I’m using it to say “I am thankful!” And I am! Happy thanksgiving everyone! We all have so much to be thankful for! We hope your thanksgiving season is full of wonderful times with family and friends, good conversations over delicious dinners,and not too much crazy shopping! We will greatly miss time with family and friends for yet another holiday - but this will be our last major holiday spent in Africa! Knowing that we will be home to visit in less than a month and spending Christmas together is a wonderful feeling! We can’t wait to see you all!
I have so many things to be thankful for this year! I’m thankful for an extraordinary two years spent in such an incredible and beautiful place. I’m thankful for the students, coworkers, and neighbors that have truly become our family here in Uganda. I’m thankful for the family and friends at home who have believed in our dreams from the very beginning and supported us and loved us through the many ups and downs of the last two years. I’m thankful for a wonderful relationship with my husband and best friend, and the ways our time in Uganda has strengthened us and helped us grow closer as a couple. I’m thankful for the memories we have made with each other, our visitors from home, and some of our dearest PCV friends. I’m thankful for good health in a place where bizarre epidemics and tragedies are a way of life. And...I’m thankful to now be thinking now about the next adventure our life will hold!
It was almost exactly two years ago that we were telling family and friends that we had received our Peace Corps invitation to Uganda! Although we’d originally expected placement in the Caribbean, right around thanksgiving, we got a call from our PC recruiter about a change of plans - sub-Saharan Africa! We were thankful that an invitation was on its way and thankful for the opportunity to embark on a wonderful, thrilling, and frightening adventure! Before we knew it, our invitations had arrived. I remember the craziness of getting ready to go, the sorrow of leaving the people, places, and work that we loved, and most importantly the way our family and friends encouraged us and supported us in the major transition we were going through!
It’s surreal that two years have passed since that Thanksgiving! Some days it feels like we have been in Uganda for *such* a long time. Thinking about the last times we spent with family, friends, in our home, and at our jobs, feels like far more than two years ago. But, at the same time, it’s hard to believe we’re coming to the end. Days, weeks, and months truly have flown by. We’ve gotten lots done, but there has always been so much more to do.
But - here we are! Two years down, and just a few months left. Although our original Close of Service (COS) date was expected to be in March or April, Ryan and I received word this morning that we would be granted an early COS on January 31! We’ll be home a bit earlier than planned! Our renters are moving out at the end of January, so we’ll be back in our *home* at the start of February! I’ve been offered a 7th grade teaching position in Saint Paul, and Ryan has some good leads on jobs too. We are so thankful that the pieces are coming together for our future. We are blessed beyond belief! We’re looking forward to wrapping up our life here, saying some heartbreaking good byes, and moving on to the wonderful things that await us in America. It will be bittersweet, but fabulous to be home!
The two weeks before Christmas will hold a lot of exciting things too! Ryan will be here at the college, helping “invigilate” exams, packing and organizing (what a good man I have!), and wrapping things up with students and staff. I’ll be spending just over a week helping to train the brand new group of education PCVs that arrived in country last week and then going off to counsel at National Camp GLOW (Girls Leading Our World). GLOW is a girls leadership and empowerment camp for 12-15 year olds from all over the country. I’m also bringing four of my girls club students as Ugandan counselors for the camp. I’m excited to get to counsel the girls who come to the camp, and help my young women grow into the fantastic counselors and leaders that they are! Then, back home for a weekend and to help our VSLA finish their amazing one year cycle. And then...home for Christmas!!! We really can’t wait to see you all!
I wish you all the best in your thanksgiving celebrations. Thank you for reading our blog, supporting us, and encouraging us all along this journey! We could not be more thankful! Tusiima munonga! We are so very thankful!
We love and miss you all! And...we’ll be SEEING you soon!