Home is Where the Frozen Yogurt Is

Break out the band. Bust out the tissues. The rumor’s true: I’m back on native soil. I’m sitting sofa-side, watching palm trees sway and listening to KPRI, wondering what I’ll cook for dinner. Oh! To cook!
Some of you, I know, may be confused. Like my mother was when she found me silently curled up in “The Cloud” (her bed) in her Los Angeles home. Or when my boyfriend flinched into a double-take, movie-quality-worthy, when I sat down next to him at last week’s happy hour. Or when I crept up behind my best friend to be the next in line for a hug and she burst out in tears.

(I won't tell, I'll just post it on the internet)

(I won't tell, I'll just post it on the internet)

I know, It’s March, you say—and you’re home? (Go ahead, cry a little. I’ll wait.)
Truth is, I’ve been ready to come home since December. I knew there were a few more places I had to see and I was also waiting for a friend to come dive Thailand and Bali with me,

Scott captures my underwater presence

Scott captures my underwater presence

but after Elephant Nature Park, my purpose for traveling dwindled. I also cite my boyfriend’s three-week visit as taking the wind out of my sails. When he left, I felt like Alex Supertramp in Into the Wild, when he writes in his diary that everything is better when shared. Nine months, and I was over traveling solo. I wanted good, old-fashioned, kindergarten-share-what-ya-got interactions. I wanted to see if my mom really had cleaned out the house. Eat the first sprigs of asparagus over dinner with Nik. Run a trail in Mission Gorge with Heather.
Also, life out of a 155 cubic inch yellow and black pack isn’t easy. I missed changes of clothes. Mild weather. Money in my bank account.
So I booked a ticket home. I just didn’t tell anyone.

And now that I’ve been home for a week and am slowly reacquainting with lovers, friends, and San Diego, I’ve had time to think about what some may call the luxury of travel. When I left in June, I had no idea what I was doing or why. I walked away from the love of my life, my family and friends, a great house and job, for no reason other than to see some distant lands and lend a hand or two.
I spent the better part of yesterday (when I wasn’t having a “Hello Again” gigantic helping of frozen yogurt at the Golden Spoon) summarizing what I learned about myself and my world during nine months of travel. It all seemed so cheesy and self-indulgent. This morning I perused Isa Chandra Moskowitz’s cookbook and found this little into to her Cookies and Bars chapter:
“I defy you to show me one person that doesn’t love a cookie. Whenever I want to say thank-you to people I bake them cookies, or I at least think of doing it. Sometimes I bake the cookies and just eat them myself and then send an e-mail with dancing bunnies to thank the people instead.”
This is me sending you dancing bunnies. Or free-roaming elephants, as it were. I thought about giving you the details of what I learned, but I’d rather go have another helping of cake batter frozen yogurt instead.
I realize I’m home early from my arbitrary timeline of One Year. But oh, timelines have always made me shiver. Not to worry—all is not lost—I’m still volunteering. As you know, I’ll be writing away to save my favorite four footed featherweights, the Asian elephants, with the Working Elephant Programme of Asia. I also recently discovered local San Diego groups who marry my work at Pun Pun (which I know you didn’t hear much about—

The making of an adobe home

The making of an adobe home

are you aware that someone, in the near future, will be living in a house I made? Out of dirt? It’s true. And oh-so-scary!) with local resources. San Diego Roots and Food Not Lawns have no idea what they’re in for: a girl back from a whirlwind trip, sans a job, with nothin’ but time.
Also, I’m begging those of you interested to click here to find out more about the terrible problem of the mighty Mekong River dams. I had a chance to speak first hand with those who have and will be affected by this insane project, and without going into too much of a diatribe (I’m abbreviating this for all my Republican friends) I can only say that if erected, consequences will outnumber the doozy we’ve seen here in the Southwest. If you’d like more information I have about the issue, feel free to email me.
So, while this is the last official Volunteer Year post, in so much as immigration and customs cleared me (they did NOT find my tomato seeds!)

A robust tomato with a delicate name: Volunteer 49

A robust tomato with a delicate name: Volunteer 49

I’ll still update periodically with information about volunteering and opportunities I’m involved in here, all from my cozy corner in San Diego.

A million thanks to you for exploring crevices of the globe with me via this blog. Your comments and feedback kept me going, and in some cases, kept me sane. Thanks for composing the audience for my sordid tales and necessary stories: every writer needs a reader, and I’ve found one in you. Having been to many parts of it, I can honestly say, it means the world to me. I hope to chat with and see you soon.

Hugs, high-fives and dwelling in possibility,
The Volunteer-er

PS–check out the latest article: Home at Papa’s House and…when the sun finally sets on this shimmery of days, grab a bottle of wine and hunker around the pixels to see the latest…and final photos of The Volunteer Year.


1 Response to “Home is Where the Frozen Yogurt Is”

  1. 1 Adriana Perez
    March 20, 2009 at 1:08 am

    I did almost shed a tear reading your final chapter (lol) but I can’t wait for future updates. Hey! Totally let me know about projects like the elefant one where my class can help (4/5 graders) cause next year I totally want to teach around the idea of “service learning” so I am looking for a project or projects.
    SEE YA!

    PS. Timelines are lame.

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