Preparing to say ‘later tater’

Something I’m often known for is introducing terrible sayings to those who do not know them. Most often it’s cool beans; other times it’s later tater – which stems from my dislike of the word goodbye or its shorter form, bye. For nearly six months, I have left the same office waving to my co-workers while calling out later taters. But now, the reality is that goodbye is drawing closer.

These past six months have gone by far more quickly than I had anticipated. When I began this internship I had just returned from almost a year and a half away from Canada. To be honest, I was really looing forward to spending a few months at home, but when this opportunity knocked, I knew I had to take it. And, I’m so thankful I did.

I’d be lying if I said every moment was great. But, I truly believe the things that challenge us most make us better, and usually lead to more opportunities. For me, this rings true. While I’m extremely sad to be leaving Uganda, the contacts, friendships and networks I’ve been able to build during my time here will be carried forward in the steps that will follow this position. I’ve also further developed my passion for working with and for youth – particularly in the capacity of agricultural engagement.

Never did I imagine falling in love with this country, it’s people, and perhaps most importantly it’s food (hence the tater component of my so long saying)! Never did I imagine I would meet people who would shape my views of the world, what it means to be part of a community and/or family, or just influence my life in general, in the way that so many have. But what I can’t imagine most is that I am less than one week away from departing.

This post is perhaps most reflective of my current state of mind - much like my brain, it’s kind of jumbled! There is still so much to process and take in. But, what I’d like to tell future and potential IYIPers is this: embrace it – every minute of it! Laugh when it gets tough; smile when it’s working. Only then will you get the full value of such an experience.