Vacation Blues

How spoiled does that sound? I went on a marvelous family vacation and now have the vacay blues. You’re probably thinking ‘get it together, there are people with real problems’. And yes I know this, I see those real problems everyday but I’ve decided to take some selfish pity and gloriously wallow in my homesickness.

Let me begin by saying I will quit the ‘bullshit’ blogging. Although many of what I have said in past blogs has been true…I cannot lie that it was censored and many times I only portrayed the fluffy and fun moments of my service. So from now on, I will try to paint a more full and realistic picture of what really happens down here…no bullshit.

There are tough times down here. Times you want to go home, times you cry sporadically for no real reason, and times you question if your work has any real purpose. But like any job and time in your life, these moments will occur – and it is up to you to become the final authority and CEO of your life and decide which road to take.

So from here on out, I will stop trying to impress you and write the honest to a fault, zero apology blog that only a handful of you may still be reading. Honestly, my blogs are a selfish act that help me vent while keeping track of this hypnotizing world I am living in – so if your still reading this rambling nonsense, thank you.

So why do I have the vacation blues?

After arriving back to site after an once-in-a-lifetime vacation with my loving family, my emotions are all over the place. I went from literally being sky-high at Machu Picchu with the closest people in my life to going back to the service in my small community that was driving me forward everyday. Before vacation I was doing rather well in advancing community projects and busy both socially and professionally in site… but jumping right back into it is a feat itself. Actually coming back from my trip to the US was a lot easier than coming back from my in-country family vacation.

The vacation itself was awesome. It began with Ma, Pops and Ashley visiting my community and getting to know my host family. My host family truly is my second family, and this was solidified that day through the love they showed my real family, and also the many kind words and actions they shared through the collision of two core groups that are in my life right now. It was also therapeutic having my family take a peak into my life, and meet some of the people I consider my closest friends down here. Now when I describe it on the phone, my life won’t sound like an abstract painting.

After the visit, we continued on to Machu Picchu to meet up with my other siblings, Nick and Chrissy, and started the luxurious vacation to Cusco and around the surrounding Inca Ruins and the world famous, Machu Picchu. The trip was nearly perfect, besides all my family member’s illnesses they received during the trip from vomiting altitude sickness to uncontrollable bowel movements…but they champed through it and is just another fun story to tell, right guys?!

Everyone at one my favorite site in Sacred Valley, the breahttaking Moray salt mines
Everyone at one my favorite site in Sacred Valley, the breahttaking Moray salt mines

It was a dream as we wondered abandoned cities, filled our brains with Peruvian Inka history, filled our tummies with the finest cuisine, and fell asleep on the dreamiest beds with a glass of wine not out of arms reach. The best part was being able to celebrate my Dad’s 60th birthday together in Cusco before all my siblings left. As we have all lived in different places and timezones over the past years, we have not been together to celebrate a birthday in a while, and collaborating in such an amazing place for this milestone was everything and more. I could go on and on about how perfect the trip was, and how thankful I am to my parents for being so generous along with all my siblings for taking the time off and making the long journey down here

Celebrating Big Jimmys birthday shamelessly in matching tees and doo-rag bandanas
Celebrating Big Jimmys birthday shamelessly in matching tees and doo-rag bandanas

But the best part was truly being effortlessly together as a family. Effortless is something I had not felt in a long time, and it was really nice to enjoy the bliss of it for a week. Everything here I do down here from trying to figure out my complex extended host family tree, to greeting everyone in the streets, to giving a presentation, to planning a project with the authorities…everything I’ve done the past year requires effort rather little or big. And it does tire you out, but makes you appreciate the work you do and really enjoy those ‘effortless’ moments during a luxurious vacation.

Obviously, I am sensitive to poverty as I am living in the thick of it and directly see the powerful effects it has on a community. However, that sensitivity to poverty at the same time has enhanced my gratitude for the finer things in life. Even after living a year in ‘rough’ conditions, I will always shamelessly be swooned by the heavenly pillowy-ness of a Marriott bed, delicious dry wine, dreamy massages, amazing hotel breakfast buffets and luxury traveling accompanied with easy conversation with my favorite hilarious people. The same hilarious people that were very hard to say goodbye to, which I did not expect that as we haven’t really been all living in the same vicinity for over 5 years. But living far away from home in-country is drastically different than living internationally.

As I said bye to my parents in the Lima airport I could not help but cry as I hugged them goodbye…not knowing how long it will be until I say hello again. I walked away reluctantly not looking back and went into the sterile bathroom stall to cry it out. I depressingly crawled over to the only place that looked like the best therapist at the moment, Subway, and ordered the coveted Spicy Italian I haven’t had in nearly a year. As I sat down by the gate, I suppressed my tears and daydreamed of the marvelous memories we made together. Luckily, a familiar shadow creepily cast itself over me in the gate I looked up and was speechlessly surprised to find Glenn, my boyfriend, standing over there with a shit-wide grin on his face as he unexpectedly surprised me. He came at the perfect moment as he cheered up with his presence and the block of pepper-jack cheese he cargo-ed along for me (happily pleased as we ate it with an un-used stole sample spoon from his recent medical checks). But more importantly he helped me through the next day, as I was an emotional roller-coaster about going back to site.

I feel rather crazy for being so upset after such an amazing trip. But I think it made me realize all the emotions of homesickness and missing my family that I have been suppressing for the past year. But I guess after being weirdly emotionally stable for over a year, the Peace Corps emotional roller-coaster they talked about so much in training has finally hit me after distracting myself with work and suppressing it for over a year.

So how will I cure the blues? Listen to Eminem on repeat, attempt to jump back into the community projects, go to soccer practice, and chill with my host sisters to help distract me from the little heartache I have. This self-therapy is shockingly already helping as my host sister is relentlessly rehearsing her flute ‘My heart will go on’ routine right next to me. Ironic, eh?

Thank you to the moon and back for such an amazing trip familia. Hugs across the miles.

Until next time,

Jamie Lane

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Published by

jamielhackbarth

Peace Corps Volunteer Peru

3 thoughts on “Vacation Blues”

  1. Jamie,

    I read all your posts, amazed by your faithfulness of continuing what God has called you to do. . . James 1:12 assures us, “Blessed is the man who perseveres under trial, because when he has stood the test, he will receive the crown of life that God has promised to those who love him.”

    Thank you for sharing your journey!

    Margo L. Ashbrook American Office Services, Inc. 30257 Clemens Road, Suite C Westlake, Ohio 44145 margo@americanofficeservices.com (216) 210-4122 cell (440) 899-6888 office (440) 899-7222 fax

    >

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Dear Jamie,

    having had daughter in Peace Corps I sympathise with you. Her second Christmas in Africa we spent in Morocco and when it was time for her to leave for Guinea she cried uncontrollably. It is tough life in PC, she had doubts a lot of times. She persevered . She claims that was her most challenging time in her life but she has never regretted it. If you make a difference in the life of just one person you have succeeded. Courage my dear, we are all with you.

    With lots of love,

    Lili manners

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Aww James, it sounds like you guys had so much fun which is such a blessing but so hard to say goodbye. So glad Glen was there to make you feel better. What you are doing is making a difference in people’s lives everyday and don’t you forget that. We love you, miss you and are so proud of you and happy for you all at the same time. Hang in there beautiful girl Lots of love Mrs G

    Sent from my iPhone

    >

    Liked by 1 person

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