Sunday, November 15, 2009

Diary from Guyana – PERSEVERANCE

By Celia Shortt

It took a week for IT to hit me. IT was homesickness. I realized one afternoon that I wanted to go home. My life, my family, and friends were on another continent (which might as well have been another planet), and I was here, alone, in Guyana.

I tried to keep myself busy by sightseeing, but as I observed the view from the top of the highest single drop waterfall in the world, all I could think about was how much my family would enjoy it. I went to my apartment and cried. I still had 10 months and three weeks to go. I knew how much my eyes and head would hurt and how red and raw my face would be if I cried every day.

This place was so much different than home. First, this place was hot, and there was little to no air conditioning. Second, the fast internet here is slower than the slow internet at home. It takes at least one day to download an episode of any television show from iTunes. So one day to download a show that takes 45 minutes to watch. Third, it is impossible for me to blend in here. I’m pretty much the only white person wherever I go. When I teach, I’m either the only white person or one of two white people. More than that, my accent is so completely different than the ones here that even on the phone I can’t blend in.

Ten months and three weeks of this might as well have been the rest of my life. I spent countless hours on the phone with my mom trying to figure out how to deal with this. The theme in everything she told me was to persevere. Easier said than done, but to honor my mother, I persevered at perseverance.

I now have about seven months and two and a half weeks left here. I still miss my family, friends, and life in the U.S. Guyana is still hot with very little air conditioning. It still takes at least a day to download one episode of anything, and I can only blend in when I’m with folks from the U.S. Embassy. Through it all, I persevere, knowing that my perseverance will allow me to learn lessons impossible any other way. I’m positive, too, that with my perseverance will come some great experiences that will make my life richer than it would have been without.

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