Wednesday, April 1, 2015

Post Peace Corps

Update

So apparently, I'm on island time.  I apologize to those that have been eagerly awaiting an update on my life Post Peace Corps. 

I am officially a RPCV (Returned Peace Corps Volunteer); the title given to volunteers who successfully COS (Completion of Service).  However, most of you are acutely aware that I am indeed not a RETURNED volunteer. That is because for what is probably the first time in my life, I decided to pursue what my heart desired, rather than the logical or safe route. Instead of following the path of my fellow volunteers and returning back Stateside to follow the path of my fellow classmates and enter the Engineering workforce and make tons of money, I decided to remain in St. Vincent and “see what happens”. However, I didn't make this decision completely irrationally. I managed to save a substantial amount of money which I am able to support myself with for a number of months. I also have the help of friends here in St. Vincent. I decided to give myself about three months, or when my savings ran out to find a job in SVG.  If this does not work out, I plan to return to the States.
After I COS’ed, I moved in with a friend and their family. This is when the Real Peace Corps Adventure started. I was incredibly sad to be moving from my house and my community, after living in the same house for 3.5 years. Despite being a very tiny island, it is incredibly difficult and time consuming to travel around without a private vehicle. My friend lives in a rather remote and rural village which is significantly further away from “everything” than where I was previously living. Although I was sad to be moving away from some of my closest friends in St. Vincent, I was excited to be starting a new chapter with greater freedom and less bureaucracy. I say that the real Peace Corps adventure started after I finished PC because my new living conditions were more akin to what I believed Peace Corps would actually be like. Remote, rural, more isolated, and significantly less amenities, including no internet, which quickly changed. I can live without indoor plumbing, but I cannot live without internet. Yikes! What does that say about me? 
Additionally, I found it to be more difficult to integrate into this new community than when I originally arrived in St. Vincent. This time around, I knew my friend and their family and their friends in the community. However, this did not make it any easier to make friends. Unfortunately, the dynamics between genders and foreigners can be quite disheartening and make it very difficult to make friends within the community. Furthermore, it appeared that people already had their ideas about me and also projected their views of my friend on me, further hindering any hopes of making friends within the community. 
At first things weren't so bad. I was still pretty busy with some of my projects and other business, since Peace Corps wrapped up rather abruptly. Because I planned on staying in St. Vincent, some of my projects were left unfinished, or were in transition. This gave me plenty to keep my mind preoccupied with as well as not spending much time in my new community. I also took the opportunity to travel around the island more to visit friends and other Peace Corps Volunteers. Additionally, while I already applied to every place imaginable, I continued job searching, which everyone knows is in of itself a full time job.
I had a few promising conversations with various employers.  However, the job market is  particularly bleak in SVG. I lived each day as though I was leaving SVG and it was my last.  I seized every opportunity to try new things/see new places. I Lived like a celebrity for a day on the private island of Mustique at a private home. I traveled the Grenadine Islands by “nearly private” airplane, bathing on secluded white sand beaches and crystal clear/turquoise waters. I rented a vehicle and traveled to the furthest ends of SVG. I celebrated Christmas and my last birthday in SVG in no small fashion.
I set a departure date and made deadlines to finish projects and say good byes and made plans to visit many of my “long lost” friends in America.

While my heart was not ready to leave SVG, I had no choice. The real world was beckoning me back

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