At the end of The Best Movie of All Time, also known as The Wizard of Oz, Dorothy wakes up muttering while her family and friends stare down at her. None of them really understand what she has just returned from, and she tries to explain, "This was a real, truly live place. And I remember that some of it wasn't very nice - but most of it was beautiful."

For all the years I loved watching the Wizard of Oz, I never really got that scene. Why was she so happy to be back? Oz was way cooler than Kansas- what's a few flying monkeys in the face of all that excitement?

Now that I've completed my entire Peace Corps service, I think I'm finally starting to relate. I'm already back in America, "readjusting" to life as most Americans know it, getting used to things like flushing toilets and constant internet access and A/C and ice and... well you get the picture. Thank goodness I've moved back to the south, where it isn't weird to greet strangers on the street- one of those Guinean habits that will be difficult to break. I used my hefty "readjustment allowance," to make a down payment on a new car, and I'm stocked up on my Close of Service meds - pills galore intended to rid me of things like amoebas (which I happen to have), schistosomiasis (which I may or may not have), and malaria (which I really hope I don't have).

But the fun of those back-to-America things pales in comparison to the real joy of being back with my family again. The people are what make any place a place worth loving, and the same goes for Guinea. I'll miss the friends I've left behind more than the sweaty fun of teaching, more than the beautiful landscape, and more than the mangoes. And unlike Dorothy, my friends in Guinea don't have strange lookalike counterparts in America.

On the last leg of my long journey home, my flight was delayed a few hours. I filled myself on a juicy bacon cheeseburger from the Five Guys in Dulles airport, and sat down to write one last blog post. I didn't get very far- I'll blame it on my my zombie-like exhaustion, but here's what I was able to crank out in those last few hours:

"It's been stated many times before, but I can't help saying it again: time doesn't move at a normal speed in the Peace Corps. It drags or flies, zooming or dragging by at strange spurts no matter where you are in your service. Sometimes you feel like Billy Pilgrim from Slaughterhouse Five, unstuck in time. Sometimes you feel like things are rushing by so fast you have no time to catch any of it. And sometimes you get bored beyond imagination.

So here I am, on the very last stretch, sitting through my last layover before I get to return home, and I've decided to write one last blog. I've been stuck in Dulles- a little less than two hour drive from my parents' house in Richmond- for the past five hours. But I'm not bored. Part of it is the magic of America (be it an airport version of America), part of it is the excitement of seeing my family in short time, part of it is awe that I'm actually done with this two-year adventure.

On July 11th at 4PM Guinea-time (that's noon on the East Coast), I got in a Peace Corps car and rode to the airport. My service was officially closed. I had completed my two years as a Peace Corps Volunteer.

A part of me is bursting with success and accomplishment, another part is already starting to feel nostalgic for what I left behind. In Brussels, I sat with a friend from the US Embassy who was also returning to the States from Conakry, and in between naps and Starbucks runs we rehashed our favorite parts of the crazy country we has just returned from. We were joined in our conversation by two women who were returning from an NGO work project in the Democratic Republic of Congo. They were extremely impressed with the work I had done- as well as the purple-black weave I had braided in my hair. We talked a little longer, and the women and I exchanged contact information. They were interested in recruiting teachers to work in a Girls' Empowerment summer camp next year, and I expressed my interest as I thought- "Maybe I'll make it back to Africa sooner than I thought..."

There ends my jet-lagged rambling. I finally made it to Richmond around 10:00PM, where my mom and sister were there to meet me. Cue tears of joy.

Since that happy return, time has kicked up speed again. Here I am, already down in North Carolina, moved into my new apartment, ready to begin my new job. Jumping into everything headfirst, I didn't think readjustment would be too much of an issue- but the little things have started to freak me out. "Is this bathroom really mine?" I say to myself every morning. I knew people in Lafou with homes small than that. "Is this car really for me?" I feel like my new Civic is the fanciest thing in the world. I had a hard time driving it on the interstate when I went down to my new place for the first time- road lines and three lanes and speed limits- oh my!

But I think I'm getting the hang of it. Little by little, as we say in Guinea, I'll get into a new groove, find new adventures, and continue to share the old. For now, I'm saying goodbye to Guinea. And now that I'm an RPCV (returned Peace Corps volunteer), I can handle anything.

There's no place like home.