For many reasons, I was more nervous/scared/hesitant about moving back home right after college than I ever was about leaving the country to move to Tanzania. I had been so comfortable living alone in college the past 3 years that the thought of having to move home made me feel miserable. The first month, I hated it and everything I was worried would happen did. I felt as if I had no freedom and no privacy, something I think a lot of people experience after moving back in with their parents, but something I felt was going to drive me up the wall. I constantly wanted to move back to Tampa, as impractical as it was, but refrained because a part of me felt that this would end up being a good decision. It took getting to know my little sister Bella for me to see why moving home before Peace Corps was a great idea in the first place.
Isabella just turned 7 years old and I recently turned 22. That age difference, I know. She was born my freshman year of high school when I lived with my dad, which meant I only got to see her on the weekends and over summer break when I visited my mom. I adored her, but I was not there for a lot of her life. After high school, I moved to Tampa for college and I saw her even less. I knew she was funny and that she loved Frozen but aside from that, I knew very little about her. She even said the same about me a few months ago when I asked her to describe me. When I moved back home in August, I moved into a neon pink room with teal plush carpet and Bella became my new roommate. The funny thing was that she had a king-sized bed all to herself while my bed was a full-sized bed in a cramped corner that had every possession I owned. I finally convinced her to have us repaint the room to a color a little easier on the eyes and I made up for it by helping her decorate with her favorite colors in smaller doses. Over the past few months, I have learned that Bella loves to craft, dance (dabbing is her specialty), clean, watch Andi Mac on Disney Channel (a surprisingly decent show), eat mac and cheese and nachos, and make slime. I have repeatedly taught her how to multiply, which she picks up quickly but forgets after half an hour. We make DIY projects together that she finds on YouTube. We constantly reorganize and redecorate our shared space, even though her toys take up 2/3rds of the room. We also learned how to make boba (it’s not as fun to drink without one of those big straws)!! I had so much pent up stress from college that being Bella’s roommate and feeling like a young girl again (at times) was great and exactly what I needed post-grad. I was so ready to get out of this house in September, desperately waiting for Peace Corps to start. Now that I leave next week there is part of me that wishes I had a bit longer to spend with her.
I told her when we can, we will video chat and I will tell her about the kids I meet in Africa and the cool places I get to see. Her response was that she’s really busy so she will need to make time for me in her schedule. I’ll really miss her though, along with the rest of my family. Ultimately, I don’t regret the past few months. It might even be one of the best decisions I made last year. It goes to show that good can come from situations we are afraid of (even though my fear was kind of silly to begin with).