Thursday, June 13, 2013

I'll be boarding the plane to Addis Ababa in a few minutes and landing in Kigali, Rwanda tomorrow morning to start my summer with ThinkImpact and I realized I never posted anything after getting back from Mozambique. So as I start this new adventure, here is a look back at my adjustment to Americaland and my thoughts on my Peace Corps experience using an excerpt from an e-mail (I'll try to upload a blog attempt from several months ago next time I have a chance):

"I doubt I’ll ever be able to fully describe what it all meant to someone who hasn’t done a similar experience but I’ve been trying. First off, it was one of the hardest things I’ve ever done in my life. I kind of thought my experiences moving for college, grad school and Don Lee would have prepared me but nothing in this country truly could have. I cried – more than I probably ever have – over small things, big things, sad events, and beautiful moments. I had strange injuries and wounds and ended up with some cool scars with great stories behind them.  I learned how to simply “be”. How to be silent and still bond with strangers. How to sit and do absolutely nothing and how to clear my mind of all the worries and struggles and enjoy whatever was in front of me. I learned that I need very little in life to be happy and that material goods are often more trouble than they are worth. I was reminded that playing with little kids is the perfect stress reliever after a frustrating day of work and that a simple smile from an appreciative neighbor is enough to make my day.  I managed to learn a new language in nine weeks and had my creativity tested while trying to describe genetics and evolution to tenth graders. Seeing that light bulb of understanding flash in a student’s eye was one of the most fulfill things I’ve ever experienced. I got to go on safaris and see the most beautiful sunsets over African savannas. I saw monkeys on a weekly basis, got chased by a bull, attacked by a baboon and got one step closer to overcoming my ridiculous phobia of spiders. I found a second family among people I didn’t even know existed 2 ½ years ago and shared more details about my life with these “government-issued friends” than with anyone else before. I helped my students, my neighbors and my community but really I got more out of this time than anything else. It’s something you’re told when getting ready to go but you don’t really understand what it means until you finish.  A blog written by a Cambodia PCV was recently passed around and one of the most profound things she said is that “You will become a stronger person for yourself, by yourself” (check out this piece because it describes life well: We had each other to get through the big stuff but sometimes you’re on your own and you alone have to figure out what to do next or how to survive whatever the world throws at you. Like I said, it was one of the hardest things I’ve ever done but it was truly the most rewarding and worthwhile things as well."

More to come from my adjustment after Moz and what I'm up to in Rwanda!

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