As of yesterday, February 16, 2012, we are officially Returned Peace Corps Volunteers. No one is ever a "former" PCV, just returned. This is because your Peace Corps experience never leaves you, and even on the strongest of us has left an indelible mark on the way you interact with the world.
It has been a hard two months for us. When we left Honduras, we had every intention of returning to our home, our friends, and our family there. Now we are still struggling to re-integrate to society here. The cost is mindblowing. What we can spend in a single night just socializing is incredible. Looking for a place to live--not knowing if we really want to find one--those things keep me awake at night. I was extremely lucky to be able to go back to my old job at fibre space. Danielle seems prone to taking in wayward strays, such as I. And people there have given me time and space to deal with separation from Honduras. They have even offered me their cats to cuddle :).
We were very excited to be visited in Washington DC by a number of other volunteers from Honduras. Since we were rather outspoken about pushing for the S&S review of the country, I was rather concerned that other vols wouldn't speak to us--though we've been hanging out with the other Honduras Med-Evacs since they got here. Unfortunately, it wasn't the reunion I hoped it would be (Peace Corps style party in someone's house), because everyone else had just gotten back and wanted to blow a bunch of money on US luxury. We, having been here for a month and a half already, could not really do that on our budget. Still, it was nice to spend time around some people who really understood kind what we were going through. More volunteers will be here soon, too, for a big jobs conference that happens at the end of the month.
We are still waiting for our things to come home. Apparently Peace Corps went to our house and packed up, but has not yet (two weeks later) sent us the inventory, which means that they have not shipped our things. Anyone who tells you its "only a month" is probably fooling themselves. We expected this, however, it is making things difficult. We have been living on only a backpack worth of clothes for two months now and I need more for work (and more that don't look like Peace Corps clothes). Our country staff is also pushing us really hard to finish our DOS (Descriptions of Service), but I've told them quite clearly that I need my records and notebooks to finish the document. DOS is what you get at the end of your service that lays out your accomplishments, your work, language level, and qualifications for non-competitive-eligibility. This is also a hang-up on the job applications, because I need it to apply for federal jobs. I don't care all that much about my "stuff", but I do want my record of Peace Corps to be as complete as possible, since I intend to pursue a public sector career.
So, those are some of the challenges of being back. Uncertainty being chiefest among them.