A Letter to America

Dear America*,

I know we haven’t seen each other in about a year, but I’ve been thinking about you lately. Maybe it’s not fair of me to be writing to you; I’m the one that left. You’ve always been there for me.

I’m doing great in Nicaragua. I have a house and a puppy, I am making progress at work. My commute is better than it has ever been when I was with you: I have views of lush, green mountains as I walk the 15 minutes down the hill to the hospital every day. I have banana trees in my backyard that I will be able to enjoy if no one steals them from me once they ripen this time. I live in coffee-land.

But you know how you can get caught up in where you are, in the sights, in the smells, in the work, in the people, and then nostalgia can sneak up on you, seemingly from nowhere, hitting you hard and fast like a drunk driver that could have hit anyone, but hit you? This happened to me yesterday.

I miss the smell of your concrete after it rains on a hot summer day. I miss your ever-rotating array of beer and coffee, depending on the season: Sam Summer, with a lemon slice on the glass; Pumpkin Spice Latte; a nice, dark, London Porter on a cold winter night. I miss your cleanliness–your clean air; being able to walk in the house barefoot; taking a dog out for a walk without fear that it will eat worm-infested feces, choke on a candy wrapper, or be attacked by a stray dog in heat. I miss the freedom you offer–freedom of travel, of diet, of evening activities. I miss being able to walk down the street without a half-drunk, half-clothed man licking his lips as I pass by. I miss not having to plan when I take a shit, so that I can avoid going out to the latrine at night. I miss your hot, running, water. That was always very courteous of you.

But despite this, it was the right choice for me to leave. I was growing restless with you, America–you were becoming predictable and I had to get out so I could see who I could be without you. We had this discussion before I left: “It’s not you; it’s me. I need to see other countries.”

So here I am, a year into my journey in Nicaragua. My skin is tanner, my bowels are little more irritable, and I am so much more aware of how I took you for granted. I hope that when I come see you in May, you’ll welcome me back, as you always had in the past. I know I’ll only be with you for a short time before taking off again, but we will be reunited again in just over a year from now–if you’ll have me.

Take care of yourself, America. I miss you.


*I know that technically I still live on the continent of America.  For the purpose of this blog, I am using “America” to mean the United States of America.

This entry was posted in Peace Corps, Volunteer and tagged , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

2 Responses to A Letter to America

  1. Alison says:

    Dear Lauren,
    I love this. You are amazing.


  2. Barbara says:

    America misses Lauren!!


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