Monday, November 22, 2010

Thoughts about Leaving for the Peace Corps

I have roughly two months before I leave for the Eastern Caribbean, but I shouldnt even be here right now.  I should have been in Africa, in a small country called Lesotho (Lih-soo-too) that most people have never even heard of let alone know anything about.  This sudden change of life plans (though not by choice), has left me with much down time to think about my current situation. 

Although I know the importance of this journey, and the main reasons why I decided to pursue the Peace Corps in the first place, that being, helping those who need my help, is not about where.  Its only about helping and having an impact on those who I encounter, even if it is just one child or one elderly man/woman or one teacher, one mother, one student, or one town official.  

Obviously my help, skills, motivation and drive, determination and inspiration are needed in the Eastern Caribbean, or the US government wouldnt spend millions of tax dollars sending volunteers. I just need to keep reminding myself of this. Obviously this will be a life changing experience.  And I am sure I will love it.  But until I leave, its very difficult to think about all the things I have given up to pursue this dream.

The longer I am here, the worse it is.  I regularly have conversations with my best friend about her wedding, and it absolutely breaks my heart that I will be missing it. Another of my best friends will be getting married, and I will have to miss hers as well.  She barely talks to me about her wedding plans.  It hurts but I understand. Theres also the possibility that I will have to miss my brother's wedding.  Another disappointment. When I return from my 2.5 years of service, my best friend will have ANOTHER baby and a 3.5 year old.  I will have missed the birth of her second child and two thirds of her first child's life. This is going to be difficult since I have been there every step of the way thus far.  Then, I will miss the birth of another very dear friend's baby. 

Then theres the current relationship situation.  Another good thing to end prematurely. There is really no easy way to go about entering the Peace Corps, unless you have no friends, no family and no life whatsoever. but I imagine thats not the case for most people.

But is there really any good time to leave the country, your friends, and your family for 2.5 years to pursue your own dreams?  I suppose no matter when I leave I will miss some monumental time in a friend's or family member's life. But that doesnt make it suck any less. It just sucks that I have to miss it now, and so soon after the start of my service. And if I dont go just because Im waiting around for THEIR dreams, then I will miss out on my own. This will only cause resentment and a feeling of unfulfillment.

Then theres all the things that are going to change that arent immediately apparent right now.  When I get back, I am going to be a completely different person; I will have a new mindset, a new way of approaching things, possibly a new culture, a new family, new friends.  Everything will be different.  Everything will be different back "home" too.  My former friends will have grown and moved on with their lives as well.  New relationships, new marriages, new families, new jobs.

Sure its going to be difficult, but thats why they call Peace Corps Service the "Toughest Job You'll Ever Love".  

Im looking forward to starting this journey and this life changing time in my life.  I just wish it was happening sooner rather than later.

So far, the time between finding out about the cancellation of my program in Lesotho and waiting for another invitation and subsequently the time that my next program leaves has been the most difficult during the entire Peace Corps Process. 

Everything happens for a reason. 

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