Reflecting on 2 Years of Peace Corps Service

Since I had recently shared I would be extending for one more year with Peace Corps, it’s been a bit of a transitional time lately. Between thinking about wrapping things up here with my current site and host family, to looking for a place to live at my next site, and also thinking ahead to special home leave, it reminds me what an incredible grand adventure I’ve been in since filling out my Peace Corps application in 2013.

As I look back over the past 2 years, it’s really hard to put it into words and to choose a few images of the thousands of photos I have taken over this time to even begin to describe how I feel about it all. I understand that this is a process that will take some time, years even for it to all unfold.

As I take time to reflect and think about these past 2 years, I find myself reflecting even further back to before I submitted my acceptance letter. I was sitting in my boss’s office almost in tears explaining to her that I was most likely leaving because I applied to the Peace Corps and was accepted to serve in a country I had never heard of. I remember how my stomach felt all tied up in knots, thinking about all the “what-ifs” and explaining what I knew so far, which wasn’t much. I clearly remember stating that if I didn’t do this, I would regret it later in life. And here I am, on the other side of 2 years. I made it. No regrets. And I’m signing up for 1 more.

There’s no going back, no undo button, no rewind. Things have changed. My family & friends have changed. I’ve changed. I’m so much better at playing charades now. I laugh at myself a lot more especially in awkward or challenging scenarios I find myself in. It doesn’t phase me anymore to get in front of a large group of people to speak or to conduct a training. I talk about complex things in a language I never spoke before (or at least I try). My views have been challenged and my perspective widened. And the list goes on… full of many ‘changes’. Typically I’m not very good at embracing change, but if that’s one thing that I continue to learn on a daily basis, sometimes multiple times, is that change is going to happen whether I like it or not. It’s all in how I handle it and approach the changes that are thrown my way.

So now, as I look ahead at the unknown which I am sure is full of many more surprises, challenges, and changes, I cannot but help to look back and reflect on all the stories, laughter, challenges, and tears that these two years have held. They have been difficult, they have been strange, they have been awkward, they have been challenging, they have been sweet, and they have been adventurous. But most of all, they have been good.

As I make this next transition, I hope that I don’t wish the time away to move swiftly onto the “next thing” and really take the time to enjoy the people I am with in the moment at that time wherever I may be. I realize this is just the beginning as I reflect upon these past 2 year, and in another year I’ll have 3 years to look back on as a Peace Corps Volunteer. It is well. Until then, numai bine.

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