Have you heard the news? My sister is going to be a Peace Corps Volunteer in Cameroon. She leaves tomorrow!
You’re about to embark on, without a doubt, one of the hardest journeys of your life.
It won’t be hard in the ways you expect, or even the ways that I could hypothesize it will be hard for you. I do imagine all of the things I give you a hard time about (your punctuality, organization, spreadsheets, etc.–> aka employable skills in the U.S.) will be difficult for you to hold to lower standards or temporarily let go of, but it won’t be the hardest thing. Taking bucket baths while small children creep around to look at your blindingly pale body won’t be fun, but that won’t be the hardest thing, either. Repeating a word 14 times in a row to someone who still registers not a single ounce of understanding, or sitting for hours in silence with people, or alone, or getting a flat tire in literally the middle of nowhere on a 108 degree day will not be fun, but it won’t be the hardest thing, either.
I wish I could tell you how it will be hard, give you a pep talk of exactly what to expect and what to do when you’re feeling a certain way or facing a certain obstacle. Unfortunately, all I can tell you with certainty is that it will be worth it. And also to pay close attention to the “Roller Coaster of Emotions” session that Peace Corps will give you :)
In the moments that you can no longer remember why you went through the 92 step application process, remember that you are shaking the dust— actively choosing to look at things (our country, the world, yourself) from a different angle, as uncomfortable as that often is.
And for the times when inspirational quotes will not work, some practical advice:
1. Find Hobbies (I expect you to be a pro at harmonica by the time you are back)
2. Set goals for yourself that do not depend on anyone else to be completed
3. Smile at everyone you can
4. Enjoy the beauty of being outside and being able to eat things right off of the tree
5. Soak in the freedom of not being constantly connected to technology and other material things
6. Work on yourself and chart the journey– journals, conversations, etc.
7. Carry a small notebook around to jot down new vocabulary words in the moment and review them every night before you go to bed
Care, I am so proud of you!
I’m so happy for you and your adventure and I’ll be even happier when you come back and move in with me. Until then, Monkey Monkey Fish Bicycle. :)