One of the traditions that Peace Corps holds is when a volunteer successfully completes his/her service they get to ring “the bell”.
Ironically, in Moldova it is tradition for the school year to start and end with a ringing of the bell. The ceremonies are even translate to “First Bell” which starts the school year and “Last Bell” which finishes the school year. I like that this tradition seems to parallel with our Peace Corps tradition as we ring the “last bell” which symbolizes the completion of our time as volunteers in Moldova.
I’ve had the honor to see a few of my colleagues and friends ring the bell recently. It was a nice tradition to be part of especially after knowing some of the challenges and hardships that some of them had been through.
Usually a few words are said by staff and friends, and then the volunteer shares a bit with those who are gathered to celebrate this momentous occasion.
My friend, Miki was the first one of our program group to leave and ring the bell in completion of her service. Although, I’m sad to see her leave I’m thrilled for all that is ahead of her as she returns to the US.
Next within our program group, Olivia and Ellen rang the bell and departed Moldova soon after to head home to the US. I will surely miss working with them as I’ve had the privilege to work with both of them on separate projects. It’s going to be strange not having them around and in the same timezone. I’m going to miss them terribly.
The latest and largest bell ringing I had the opportunity to attend was with all of these newly appointed RPCVs (Returned Peace Corps Volunteers).
One of my site mates, Jeff even dressed in a traditional Moldovan shirt for the occasion.
Each day as my friends and colleagues “ring the bell” and depart Moldova it reminds me of the transition we all are currently facing and how short the time frame of 2 years is.
Only 400+ some days left until I too get to ring the bell to COS! Here’s to all that is ahead as we embrace “now” and beyond! xoxo