This is a reprint from a blog post from a wonderful young lady I met in Ghana the first or second time I traveled there in 2011 or 2012.
When I met Kelly Rappe in Ghana, she was an ISEP student at the University of Ghana. She volunteered at the MOP school 2 or 3 days a week, teaching one of the classes, I think 2nd or 3rd grade. I have a photo of Kelly teaching, I will find it one day and post.
Kelly came back to the US, graduated from college and then signed up for the Peace Corps. She was assigned to teach English at a Primary school in Macedonia.
I followed her journey via her posts and updates on Facebook and her blog.
I was always reminded when reading about her adventures, discoveries, travels, and life lessons, about all the good life has to offer. Kelly was always positive, interested, curious and could find the silver lining in all her challenges and opportunities during her 2 years in her Peace Corps assignment.
Kelly learned so much about Macedonia, the country, the people, the customs, the food - and certainly about herself. You can access her wordpress blog at
I promise I am not going to go into grave detail about how I wipe my bottom. I woke up this morning realizing that there are certain things that are special and unique to me that will never be the same. I won’t use the restroom in the same way. I will always think about whether I need to throw the toilet paper into the trashcan or not. It has become habit. Just like I will always think about the culture with whom I am speaking to in a different way than I did before.
I remember reading “The Cave and the Light” in high school and not understanding it fully. For those of you that have read this book by Arthur L. Herman, I find myself watching people starring at the flame from inside the cave on many occasions. Several times I have tried to throw them out into the world that I see and realize that lifestyle and experience is not right for them. Who knew that I would be referencing a book in my head 8 years later.
In these past two weeks I have been reunited with my wonder and amazing family. I found myself really struggling to be around them because my view on a lot of things has changed dramatically and just like I will never wipe my bottom the same; I will never look at the world in the same way as I did before.
I want to highlight my family and thank them for all the support they have given me in the past three years through applying the Peace Corps to getting a placement to the 27 months in the field and slowly adjusting back. Each one of my family members has played in important role. I got them Peace Corps shirts for Christmas and they were kind enough to “sport” the shirts in a family photo.
Kelly 2nd from left with her family during the holidays
Thank you my wonderful brother for finding silly sayings and things to tease me about. Although I may act annoyed, I really enjoy the time and creativity you take to come up with your teasing. I love you so much and am so amazed (not surprised) at the young man you have become. I can’t wait to see you run this spring! I also can’t wait to see how a genius of languages and culture will use his degree to better humanity (anthropology degree)! Also he is an amazing DI runner at his school. Check him out: http://www.davidsonwildcats.com/roster.aspx?rp_id=4639&path=mtrack
Thank you my amazing sister for giving me those hugs and just being with me and watching star wars with me and playing card games with me. My sister hosted me right before I left for the Peace Corps. I was a nervous wreck and I just remember being calmed because she was right there by my side. I love to brag about my sister the fabulous science writer who has officially graduated with her PhD. Ya, I know, she is the smartest sister EVER. Here’s one of her articles: https://share.sandia.gov/news/resources/news_releases/tannenbaum_aps/#.Vok2Hlw1fzI
Thank you mom. I know I haven’t been the easiest to be around at times and I have had a difficult time communicating my emotions, but I am so grateful for everything you have done. You are know as the kick butt writer that sends her daughter many, many care packages in the Peace Corps. I would not be here today if it weren’t. I know I don’t say thank you enough. I am sorry I didn’t when you gave me your car, drove me down to Las Vegas, and spent a week with me riding the roller coaster I endured with me. Thank you will never be enough in my mind, but I am ever so grateful for your love and care. My pantries are stocked yet again from the amazing trip to a Wholesale store, which my mom suggested and facilitated. Thank you for helping me by listening to me process everything, and skyping me, AND BEING the transition QUEEN!
Last but not least, my daddy. Daddy everything you do for me is out of so much love and care I am about to cry from happiness that you are my father. From getting suck in the carwash with me to being super patient about where my wiper fluid is to helping me learn how to put on tire chains. Thank you. I know I never say thank you enough, but I love you so much and am ever so grateful for the the patience and love you bestow on me daily. Thank you for always just being a phone call away no matter the time or where you are. I am so glad we have a special bond of being “homies”. Dad thank you.
So, another thing I am grateful for is having a RPCV at my side for the next week and a half. Yesterday my amazing friend Emily drove with me from Denver to Las Vegas. This 12 hour drive went by so fast because she was there with me. She helped me process what I was going through because she is going through a lot of the same things. Emily I can’t describe how grateful I am to have you here on this trip with me.
Tomorrow I start school again and I think I am ready. The past two weeks have been very emotional coming home, seeing people after many years, and facing the new me where I don’t have many distractions of work to do at my side.
Happy New Year and thank you for reading this heartfelt blog. <3