Tuesday, 3 July 2012

The transition curve

According to vso, when volunteers return home they experience excitement, followed by anxiety and pining, apathy and depression, followed by gradual acceptance and then finally, moving forward. For me this seems to be true at the moment. I’ve gone past the initial excitement stage when turning on a tap and seeing hot water come out made me feel insanely gleeful. It’s been lovely to catch up with old friends, but when I’ve caught up I find myself missing my old friends in Rwanda, in particular Lindsey, Kathy, Mary, Tricia, Jen, Rachel and Mark and Tammy. I miss my friendly work colleagues and the lovely young people I worked with. I miss drinking big bottles of Primus in the lovely Rwandan sunshine. I miss riding motorbikes down bumpy dirt tracks with the wind in my hair. I miss the beautiful green hills. It’s amazing how quickly you see everything through rose tinted spectacles, you remember only the good things and forget all of the little things that drove you crazy. 

So that’s the pining. But I’m also experiencing lots of anxiety about the future. I have a few things planned for the summer. I’m shortly about to spend three weeks teaching English at a residential summer school so that will keep me busy. Then I’m doing a four week intensive course on teaching English language skills to adults. But after that...who knows? Life feels like a bit of an open book at the moment which is both exciting and scary and a bit destabilising. But as in Rwanda when things got difficult, these feelings will eventually come to pass and be replaced with new ones. Doing vso itself felt like a rollercoaster and it seems that the process of coming home is just another part of the ride. 

I’ve made a photo book of all of my memories of Rwanda so I can bore my family and friends to death with my tales of Rwanda. It’s given me something positive to do over the past few days and it’s been interesting reminding myself of the whole journey I’ve been on. Tonight I’m going to the Bristol vso supporter’s group to hear my friend do a talk about her experiences volunteering in Guyana and it’s nice to spend some time with returned volunteers who ‘get it’ and are further on into the transitional process than I am.

1 comment:

  1. Hi Cam and thanks for the transition curve - i haven't seen it before and it is a while before the end of my placement, but I'm sure it will happen to me - I just hope i can get to the moving on stage without too much pain!! I miss you so much too! But such wonderful memories- we are very blessed. I'm coming home for 3 weeks abd i will be very busy so may not get to see you, but message me your home number. Lots of love, Tricia xxxxxxxxxxxxx