Already Seen For the First Time


I told my friend Sarah back in training that I had a strange dream the night before. I was worried about living here, and not feeling at home ever again. I was struggling with all the emotions that come attached to adaptation and integration into a completely different world. In my dream, I walked into a store where I found all these things that one would find in America. My eyes were captivated by the American candies and gum that prevailed! I had found a comfort that I yearned for. I was so happy and remember feeling at such ease, saying to my friend in the store with me, “Well, now I know that I can find everything I need right here. Now I know that I can live here.”

In Yaounde a few weeks ago, I paraded around the big city with joy of a small child at Christmas time, continuously indulging in the gifts that were reminiscent of back home, such as pizza and cheeseburgers with ketchup. My friends and I giggled with out stopping for most of the first day, as we ate ice cream and cotton candy; it was a Peace Corps Volunteers’ paradise. As I walked around the city, we stopped in wherever we were intrigued to go, just to explore and discover. When we saw the pain au chocolates and croissants in one window, we decided that we had to walk into one boulangerie in particular. As we stepped inside, I started to feel that the entire situation was familiar to me. I was feeling partly high from the hummus and milkshake we had had earlier in the day, but I started to feel a different sort of joy as I looked around and saw an array of American candy bars and gum. Everything froze for a moment as the dream came back to me, and I must have stared around for a few minutes, just astounded at the message of emotions that both the dream and the reoccurrence of those feelings in my present reality. My friends laughed when I told them, but seeing those American candy bars established a profound feeling of comfort for me, and the dream that came true established a sense of confidence in everything that I was doing. I thought to myself, “Well, now I know that I can find everything I need right here. Now I know that I can live here.”

I have been told that deja vue is what tells a person that they are doing what they are supposed to do in life. I can agree with this, as I cannot see any other explanation for these random emotions and experiences that feel somehow deeply rooted to my being. I am continuously amazed by subtle connections and occurrences that remind me that I have chosen the right path, however difficult and challenging it may become. That was the last straw to my lack of comfort, and ever since I have only been continuously reminded by unexplainable happenings that perhaps could only be understood by myself. What’s most important is the feeling…that I have everything I need here, that I will be quite all right living here.

About Author

Tara Menendez
Tara has always had a passion for discovering new cultures, from convincing her mother to host a French exchange student in High School, to studying abroad twice, coordinating exchange programs at her university Study Abroad Center, to spending a month backpacking through Europe. She holds a Bachelor’s degree in French with a minor in Communications. A Returned Peace Corps Volunteer who lived in Cameroon, West Africa for two years, she looks forward to guiding you on some exciting adventures that will make the world a bit brighter! She’s also a travel writer/blogger at Eat.Love.Volunteer, business owner, property manager, wifey, mother, and humanitarian. Tara lives in Dallas Texas, where she’s happily married to the tech genius who built and maintains this beautiful website!


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