It has been just over two months since I have posted anything on here. It is not so much that my life has been devoid of adventure and intrigue. Peace Corps is always an adventure, yet not always a glamorous one. In the US, everyone has good days and bad days. That is just a fact of life. Here, however, the swings seem much more drastic but it almost has to be expected. It would be hard for me to have the intense excitement of an impromptu hippo hunt in Indiana. At the same time, heartbreak and work frustrations get super charged when you don’t have the easy ability to call up a friend and meet up for drinks, head to the gym to blow off steam, or just say “today is for me, I’m going to take it easy and relax. Go to a movie alone, order Chinese, then take a walk down town.” For me, a completely nebulous schedule and copious amounts of time for self-introspection can be an opportunity to build myself into a better grounded and skilled person and then just as easily shift to self deprecating destruction and personal dismantling, then back again within the course of an afternoon as I serve in Burkina.
I understand that Peace Corps is different for everyone that serves, but most of my friends seem to feel the weight of their service on their shoulders. I am happy about my choice to serve. Please don’t be mistaken. I just want to take the time to write down how I feel in order to update my friends and family. Maybe prepare a future volunteer and ideally not scare them away. This has been an extremely rewarding and eye-opening ten months. I have discovered things about myself and about others that would have possibly taken years back home, or maybe never even have occurred. I have also gained relationships that will last a lifetime. This journey allowed me to meet people I never otherwise would have connected with and they will help me to grow as a person.
As I write today, I am very sad to have to say goodbye to my closest friend in Peace Corps. They will be returning home this week due to unforeseen circumstances. I completely understand and support their decision and I am extremely impressed by the courage and perseverance they have displayed. Thankfully for technology, we will be able to keep in touch and I fully intend to see them again when my service ends in over a year from now. As I see them preparing to return home, I can’t but stop and think: “I could just as easily go home. It was a good ten months, but maybe I would better serve myself in the United States.”
Then clearer thoughts prevail. I am happy here. I have projects going that are very rewarding. I have friends in village that I am not ready to say goodbye to. I have untapped potential and unknown adventures yet to be unearthed. I was told my second day in country by a volunteer on her way out, “the days are long, but the months are short.” She was spot on. I can’t believe how long I have been here. Louisville seems so clear in my mind. Walking the halls of my grad program or hours spent with friends in the library at SPEA does not feel like a fading dream. Homemade Lloyd pizza doesn’t seem that long ago.
Those places and people will still be there in July 2014. They will have changed a little, but so will have I.