Saying Goodbye

Trip Start Jun 02, 2003
Trip End Dec 31, 2006

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Flag of Benin  ,
Sunday, July 24, 2005

Well, this is it...the end. It is quite depressing actually, and I have very little time to expound upon it right now. But I figured I have been silent long enough. I better write one last entry from Parakou. My life seems to be full of "one last"s lately. I have to eat here one last time. I have to go here one last time. I have to do this one last time.

Leaving is proving to be much more difficult than most of the other times I have left somewhere. Here I am leaving knowing that it will probably be a VERY long time before I will be able to return (if ever?!!!). Also, I am leaving fully aware that I am going to a place where I will be in living conditions that are so much safer and healthier, but all the good friends I have made during my two years here will stay where ...well, where things are not necessarily safe and healthy. Yes, of course, they have lived here forever and may not know better, but some do. And I do. And it is sad. It is sad to leave the people that I have laughed with, danced with, and lived with for the past two years, not knowing when I will be able to see them again.

This is my last weekend in Parakou. I am having a couple of different goodbye gatherings. I return to N'Dali on Monday morning. I will spend the next three days cleaning my house, doing last minute packing, and saying goodbye. Then, on Thursday, I come back to Parakou for one last night, a few last goodbyes, before heading down to Cotonou on Friday. I will go to Lokossa to say more goodbyes over the weekend, then come back to Cotonou for a week of Peace Corps paperwork and meetings, more goodbyes, perhaps some last minute shopping, etc. On August 7th, that's it. I climb into a plane with my Peace Corps friends Harry and Kelley. We fly to Paris via Lybia (aaah!!!). I will stay in France for a couple of weeks before flying to Boston (yes Boston!) on August 17th (arriving on the 18th). I will drop some stuff off there because that is where I plan on living (in a house near Davis Square - yeah!), then on the 19th or 20th, I will go home to Corpus Christi for a visit. That is the plan.

For those in the Boston area, I am desparately seeking a job (preferably in the international education arena, though I will be more and more flexible as the date of arrival approaches), so if you have any ideas, please please please, send them my way, give out my name with a glowing recommendation, etc. Also, I may try to organize a welcome back get-together in some bar or something for the one night that I am in Boston before heading down to Corpus so that I can say hi to everyone all at once.

I feel like so much is missing from this travelogue, especially what has happened over the last few months. I can't promise that I can write it all up over my last couple of weeks in Benin, but if you will be patient and will still be interested in reading about my life in Benin and looking at photos (and maybe some video), I will do my best to fill it out a bit after I get back...keep Benin alive for me and for you.

Perhaps you will here from me in Cotonou or Paris. If not, then, Corpus or Boston. This is not yet a goodbye from travelpod, nor a 'last time'. Stay tuned for more updates.
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