After an exhausting but enjoyable time working PST, it was back to site for me. Actually, it was more of a Jon-and-Mikey reunion because heck, we're like brothers from another mother and haven't really seen each other since PST began in June! I can't even begin to tell you how close you get to some of your closest PCV neighbors. You're each other's support networks and I think Jon and I both really lucked out.
Anywho, I come back to a relatively empty site. People are still traveling because it's vacation time or are out in the fields because it's rainy season. Madame Constance and her baby, Grace, are back though. I drop by to say hi and low and behold, one of the cutest things I've seen here in BF comes running to my feet: Hercules! Yes, Hercules. Or in French, Hercule. It's their new puppy who is just about the cutest thing ever. Only about 3 weeks old, from what I heard. But I'm super excited because Madame Constance is my closest neighbor, and I feel like I'm not up to take care of a dog (plus I leave in a year...don't wanna get too attached, you know?)...and yeah, it'll be like having my own dog without all the hassle, haha.
Jon and Hercules. Look how tiny that guy is!
So Jon slept over and we just caught up over what's been going on during the last couple of months. Jon was teaching English for month at this English camp in Ouaga while I've been busy working PST. For the longest time, I've been wanting to do a video tour of my house and we finally got that done (Internet connection is slow here so y'all will have to wait until later). Afterward, we both took our regular trip to Gaoua (provincial capital). It would be the last time I'd see Jalila, our Belgian friend, before she leaves to finish her work in Mali and then eventually return to Belgium. So we all did some shopping and Brenda came by, too! It was her first time so I gave her a little tour of Gaoua. Man, I really do love where we live!
Jon and I roasting marshmallows in my house. No, seriously! His sister sent them all the way from Portland, Oregon. And it was a little chilly that night, too.
Sneaky Jon. A candid at our regular lunch spot in Gaoua, PP (a.k.a. Poni Paradis). Such a great place to chill and get some basic food.
At the marché.
Again at the Gaoua marché. Jon had to be discreet about taking pictures...we feel weird doing it in public settings because it makes us feel like tourists, you know? I promise to get more pictures soon. Especially the vegetable/fruit section of the marché -- so colorful!
On that note, I'll end it with this: I realize this is a public forum and not many people know, but I head home tomorrow for vacation. I can't believe it! The school year doesn't start until October and I am officially done with training so this is the perfect time to leave BF for a bit and get in touch with family and close friends again. I fly out tomorrow evening, get to Paris and take a connecting flight to New York. I spend a couple of days in New York hanging out with the one and only Devin (!!), then head home for a couple of weeks. Not planning anything big -- just a simple visit home. Celebrate my Grandma and Mom's birthdays, do some Peace Corps presentations with my old high school French teacher and my old 8th Grade teacher's classes, among other things. So yeah, it's completely surreal but I'll be sure to keep updating this during my trip back home after one year. Let's go!