Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Flexibility and Adaptability

Well they werent kidding when they said that the most important qualities you can possess as a potential Volunteer are Flexibility and Adaptability, oh and PATIENCE!

They certainly have a way of testing you, or me at least.  For one, the waiting game.  Its bad enough not having an answer, but not even knowing when the decision/answer will be made; its horrible.  The uncertainty is definitely enough to make some one go mad.  I am willing to wait indefinitely because this is something I really [really] want.  But, truthfully, it gets to me at times.

Then there is the all too common occurrence of having the decision changed or rescinded altogether. Yeah I get it, when you are dealing with developing countries, circumstances arise that are unforeseen or unavoidable. I mean I can deal with the uncertainty if I have to; and I have.  But to have a set and concrete plan and then have it taken away.  Its unbearable. That is something I am trying to deal with.  The feeling is almost indescribable.  I can only describe it to the likeness of losing someone/something very very dear to you. Yes, the feeling of loss was that strong (for me). 

Alternatively, its like being punched in the stomach and having the wind knocked out of you.  You fall, and cant focus for a few minutes.  It takes you some time to regain your bearings on everything.  Almost disbelief for a while.  And then you are left feeling sick, disoriented, while you try to right yourself.  I had the ground ripped right out from underneath me. 

And to make matters worse, it has happened again.  Though not as extreme.  I knew there was a reason why I did not get as excited about St. Kitts and Nevis as I did about leaving for Lesotho. I thought to myself: I'll get excited when I'm there, but until then, I'll will just see how things go". Well, today I received an email stating that the PC has made a mistake when they told me I was assigned to St. Kitts and Nevis.  Instead I'll actually be serving in St. Vincent and the Grenadines. 

I have no problem with where I serve. And luckily I wasnt too attached to St. Kitts and Nevis.  But the fact that they "made a mistake" leads me to believe that they can make many more similar mistakes.  Sure there are things that cant be avoided, but logistics and paperwork should be something that is reliable and predictable. However, Nothing is certain. My confidence in the PC administration is quickly waning, unfortunately.  I only hope (and I know that all these feelings of angst, frustration, and second-thought will change when I am doing what I am meant to do) this view will change when I arrive on site to serve and see first hand the efforts PC admin. have put into these programs to make them effective and efficient. 

Until then, I will continue to live one day at a time. Because ultimately, today is the only thing that is certain and guaranteed.  Tomorrow is promised to no one. I will continue to be flexible and adaptable to anything PC throws at me.  Hopefully no more curve balls. But regardless, I'm ready for what ever is thrown at me!

Monday, December 13, 2010

Positives That Have Come From a Postponed Departure...

Despite still being upset about not being in Lesotho (yes, I am still upset, and I predict I will always be a bit disappointed about the whole thing) there are a few positives things that have come from not leaving as soon as originally planned.

As much as I would have loved to be in a climate that was heading into the summer months, it would have been a bit weird to celebrate thanksgiving (my absolute favorite holiday) and christmas in summer and more importantly without my family.  As a result of not leaving in November, I did get to celebrate Thanksgiving with my family.  The food was amazing and the company great, though Justin and Carmen were missed.  

Christmas is in two weeks, and I dont think we know what our plans are yet.  No one had planned on me still being around, so I think every one made their own plans, especially since my brother is now engaged.  We will see what ends up.  But anyway it pans out it will be great to be home (in the cold) for christmas.  In a month I will turn 24.  I have always always always wanted a summer birthday. My postponed departure prevented that this year.  But next year I will turn 25 in St. Kitts and Nevis.  Not too shabby. 

Lastly, the extra three months of rest and relaxation was much needed.  Five years of unrelenting homework, midterms, finals, projects, research, lab work, presentations, volunteering (my stress reliever, but a responsibility nonetheless) and tons of stress and a lack of sleep really caught up with me.  I needed three months to catch up on sleep alone.  Having no responsibilities for three months before I leave to one of the most challenging adventures of my lifetime is a blessing.  Now I will be completely rested and fresh to start my service, and can give my absolute all and 100%. Though, thats not to say that I wouldnt have in Lesotho.  If you know me even a little bit, you know that I do not do anything half heartedly and I would do anything in my power to see that the work I was doing was above and beyond the requirements or expectations. 

Additionally, I have been able to spend very valuable time with my mom, work on my scrapbooks to take with me to St Kitts and Nevis to give me some sense of familiarity, and return to Philly countless times.