Being away from home for the holidays is really hard. No matter what I do, nothing can replace making apple pie with my dad, a giant hug from my mom, and the sounds of family and friends as the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade floats by on TV. As much as I hate to miss those moments, my Thanksgiving this year was about as good as it could get here in Guyana. During the past week I embarked on a 5 day trek to the tallest single drop waterfall in the world–Kaieteur. It was filled with challenging, exquisite, hilarious, reflective, frightening, inspiring, and blissful moments that, in the end, reminded me why I’m in Guyana.
Honestly, my time here has been hard. I’ve been stretched and challenged in ways I didn’t even think were possible. I’ve fallen down (literally lol) and failed and given my fair share of blood, sweat, and tears. But perhaps my journey in Guyana is not unlike the climb to the top of Kaieteur–the climb is rocky and steep and I lost my footing a few times, but the beauty of the falls is waiting for me at the top and the view is ever more incredible because I worked so hard to reach it. As I near the end of my time in Guyana, I feel weary at times from journey. But looking out at the beauty of Kaieteur, I was reminded of the beautiful people and places that Guyana has brought into my life. I am so thankful for the Peace Corps Volunteers who have become family, for the Guyanese friends who inspire me, for all of my host family who have taught me so much, for the kids that make me laugh, for the Peace Corps Staff that support me, and the cat that’s always willing to cuddle. I’m thankful to walk everyday with an incredible sunset in the background, to never be cold, to (finally!) see wild monkeys swinging though the trees, to chase waterfalls through the best preserved rainforest in the world, and to watch the coconut palms sway as I write this post.
As I stared out at the falls last week, I felt invigorated to finish my last 4 months here strong, and inspired find blissful moments of beauty everyday. Despite the challenges, I’m glad to live in a place where I can hike through the jungle with 8 incredible women (and our amazing guide Roy!) and have my breath taken away by nature. I feel more committed to finding happiness here every day and enjoying the fleeting time I have left in Guyana. Even though I was sad to be away from family this year for Thanksgiving, this year I was able to reflect more deeply about what I have to be thankful for–which, as it turns out, is quite a bit!