I cannot believe that I have officially lived in Uganda for one year. That is the longest that I have been away from my family and friends. Honestly, it has been a wild ride that I wouldn’t trade for anything. In this post I am going to go into a little bit of what this year has meant to me, what adventures I experienced this year, and the growth that I have experienced.
I just keep running over the events of the past year in my head and trying to think of what is notable to mention and honestly it’s hard because I would say that every moment has honestly shaped my life in such a way that it’s hard to pick.
I can go back to moments during Pre Service Training (PST), and all the teaching techniques that I learned that I know use in my classroom, meeting new friends that will quickly become like family, and getting used to a country that is going to be my home for the next two years. Then moving on to language training and learning a language that I have been desiring to learn for the past five years. Too bad I don’t practice enough so my language skills have died down which I hate and I need to start practicing more. Then when first got to my site and got to know my students, my neighbors, and my fellow teachers. Then starting teaching and watching my students begin to expand their knowledge of phonics and reading comprehension. Then beginning to travel around the country going rafting, going on safaris, going bungee jumping, and just seeing all the beauty that is Uganda.
Something that a lot of people know is that I have had the desire to move to Uganda since 2011. That had been my goal that I hoped I would one day accomplish. Honestly this year has mean so much to me, I finally got to move to the country of my dreams. I think what has meant the most to me about living in Uganda has been all the people that I have met in the Peace Corps but also my students, my neighbors, my fellow teachers, and the expats I have met along this journey. It has also meant a lot to be able to reconnect with people that I have known for years here. Something else that has meant a lot to me has also been being able to teach and just realize how much I love this career. I know I have been teaching for years now but this experience is different. It’s been amazing and I can’t believe this is what I get to do for the rest of my life. I can honestly live anywhere and teach. I can travel and do what I love.
I have grown tremendously as a teacher, I have become more independent, and I have become a better person in ways, a worse person in ways, and a wilder person in ways. I am not really going to get into too much detail about it. However, I will say this, living in a foreign country, by yourself, trying to navigate a new culture you really have to become independent and learn more about yourself. You also learn patience, grace for yourself and others, but you also have off days where you are getting shouted at, harassed, and pressured about different things.
All in all I wouldn’t change this experience for a second. Everything I have gone through has shaped me and made me a new person and I am thrilled about that I cannot wait to see what this next year and three months will have in store and all the other ways I will grow.