Hey, hey, hey, back in The Republic of The Gambia. Did you guys miss me? Have you ever been to Greece or Crete, specifically? Add it to the list you've made of things to do or places to visit before you leave this world. Scratch that, put it the top of the list. Maybe it had something to do with the immediate anonymity as soon as I stepped off the plane, but probably it was the amazing food and the most beautiful landscape I've ever laid eyes on that makes Greece one of my favorite places on this earth. It was very refreshing for my emotional well being to spend time with a friend from back home and practicing Ashtanga some, too during my stay sure didn't hurt. Erica and I spend a few days in Athens doing the whole Acropolis thing, which was more magnificent than I'd imagined. Then we took a 9 hour overnight ferry ride to Crete and after several bus rides, made it to the town of Plakias, a small touristy town along the coast where we stayed at a rad youth hostel before heading down to camp along the river about 12K away from Plakias. it was a relaxing few weeks of practicing Ashtanga, talking and cooking with locals, river hikes, a visit to the bluest oceans waters I've ever seen and even a little music playing. I was also even able to continue my role as PCV by sharing the Moringa seed with residents along the river. I gave the appropriate literature about the highly nutritional plant and planted a few on my own but gave the rest to plant at their leisure. The tiny gift evoked such a beg response and as if I didn't already have reasons to return, the prospect of seeing the progress of the Moringa growth would be the feta cheese on the toast! it was one of those trips where I didn't feel like I needed a vacation from my vacation upon returning to Gambia.
But of course it couldn't be ALL paradise. It sort of came crashing down about the time where, on the metro back to the airport, the ticket lady checked my ticket that kept being accepted by the electronic meter and told me I was being fined 80 Euro for using the same ticket ore than once. I must had been holding all my nervous energy about coming back to Gambia (my foreign country of a home), and not back to friends and family, which I've never done before, plus my excited feelings about the spectacular time I'd had in Greece because as soon as the told about the fine, I began crying pretty much uncontrollably. After she escorted me to the ATM machine and hovered over me as I drained the money in my account, she and her colleague finished their conversation that politely ended apparently in a funny joke and abandoned me to orient myself with my new terminal surroundings. So I sobbed some more on a mesh bench, eventually recognizing the surrounding as the same train terminal where Erica and I began our journey just 3 weeks prior. Finally I composed myself enough to get in the check-in line only to get to the front to be told I had to purchase my new ticket and pay the difference at that other counter, then get back in line that now consisted of everyone on SN Brussels flight 3250 to Brussels. That's okay, I still had like 5 hours to kill at the airport. The flight arrived in Brussels just in time for me to may my 12 hour layover that became 15 when I woke up from my refreshing night's sleep on concourse A's floor and checked in for my flight. But it began to look up a little from there. Since there are only 2 flights a week coming into Gambia from Brussels, there was a good chance I'd know someone on the flight. Walking back and forth down the terminal corridor looking for a place to answer my page I had heard over the intercom, I ran into a fellow health group volunteer returning from a vacation to the States. And at that, one of my favorite to run into and sit next to (coincidentally for the 2nd time flying from Brussels to Banjul) on the flight. I think we helped prepare each other for one transition that we knew was about to take place up on returning to our developing world we call home from the only type of home we've ever known.
That said, we also returning to 15 other bright and shiny familiar health group faces for our required 6 month In-Service Training. This past week as flown by with a series of daily sessions that evaluate how we thing work is going, how it should be going, new ideas of where it could be going and going going going until we couldn't go anymore! I'm going back to Brikama tomorrow, where I think there will be plenty to pick back up with. So much so, that I feel like if I blink, Christmas time will be here and I'll be on another flight to Dallas! That's right pretty people, we will once again meet face to face over a 3 week period from Dec 21st through Jan 11th. Can't wait. I'm already feeling the vibes of love, thanks.