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Thursday, June 26, 2008

30 days from today....

Its a little unnerving - to not really know who is reading your your written thoughts out in cyberspace, but even when people ask me to my face about how I feel about leaving soon for Peace Corps, I don't always entirely tell the truth.

Sure, you can only expect that I would be nervous, but...

I'll be touching down in Sofia, Bulgaria with my team of Peace Corps Volunteers; ready (or not) in less than a month to begin our 11 weeks of pre-service training.

I've spent the last couple of weeks enjoying some much needed "me" time in Florida. My aunt and uncle live on the Space Coast, south of Cape Canaveral, and I got to see them for a few days before dog-sitting their puppy, enjoying the gym, the beach, the pool, and entirely too many hours with a book in my hand or the tv on.

Since I finally had a chance to slow down a bit and process now that I am done with classes, internships, jobs, etc, I was able to resort to my normal state of overprocessing and overthinking EVERYTHING.

Its like all of the sudden this whole Peace Corps thing became very real.

People keep asking me how I feel about leaving the country for 27 months.

"Are you scared? Nervous? Excited? Anxious?"

And I am all of those things. But probably not for the reasons people would think…

I know reality will continue to set in for the next month and even after I step out onto Bulgarian soil, but I am excited about devoting myself to a new culture (admittedly, I AM nervous about the language, though....), trying new foods, meeting new people, seeing new places, and yes, being almost entirely on my own.... the aspects of leaving my home for over two years hold a lot of people back from even trying something like this, but in that respect, I'm ready for a new beginning. I'm ready to spread my wings and fly. And most importantly - to do it solo.

I can honestly say I’m not afraid of much.

I enjoy heights. I tend to thrive on small spaces. I can coexist with small creatures/insects/creepy things as long as I know they are there (I’m not known for composure when inflicted with the element of surprise). I love taking long walks at night. I got more of a thrill out of night shifts and drug busts as a police intern than I should probably admit. I'm often happier on my own than I am with a lot of people around, so independence is a comfortable thing for me even though I do value my support network.

i am, however, terrified of failure.

Last summer I worked for a camp that served inner city kids out of DC. Each week of camp was harder than the one before it (not because of the kids - but the camp itself), and while I have never quit anything in my life, I seriously considered walking away each weekend.

I never did.

Instead… I ended the summer exhausted, frustrated, and feeling like I let a lot of people down. While people will argue with me that I gave it my all and I made an impact I will never know the extent of, I still felt like I failed.

I'm setting out for the Peace Corps knowing (as well as I can right now), that my heart is here in the United States. Urban America, to be exact. I love the kids and people I have fallen in love with in DC and NYC, and I feel as though God has been equipping me to finally succeed and impact His kingdom. The Peace Corps has been part of my dream, but its NOT, my dream. Its a step that will change my life, I'm sure, but moreover, it is a path to get me where I ultimately want to be - HERE.

That being said, I'm afraid that I won't make the most of these next two years. I'm afraid that even though this is hardly even possible, I'm going to finish my term in Octover of 2010 feeling as though missed out on two years that could have been spent pressing towards my real dream.

But who ever said fears were rational?

I'm sure 27 months in Bulgaria are going to be nothing short of AMAZING.


barb. said...

Hi! Welcome (soon) to Bulgaria. I'm a PCV in Bulgaria right now. I'm actually in the same program you are in, only I'm a year before you. My name is Barb. I live in a place called Dupnitsa. You will get to know this wonderfully magical land very well throughout training. It holds the esteemed responsibility of being your training (a.k.a. HUB) city. You will find out all about that in time. Anyway, I just wanted to hi and I hope you are getting excited about coming here to join us. We're (I'm speaking collectively for both the PCVs here and the Bulgarians) good people. My email address is if you have any pressing questions. See you soon!

Hollie and Tony said...

Hey, my name's Tony Anderson, and my wife and I will be leaving for Bulgaria on Sept. 9th to do an internship called One Heart Bulgaria.

I've lived in Bulgaria before (for two years), and I met some PCVs serving there, and it really seemed like a wonderful experience.

You'll get the language suprisingly quick (and struggle with it surprisingly LONG!) and have a wonderful time.

Good luck!

Quill said...

Regarding the bugs, I think the real trip is when you can feel them but you don't know for sure if they're there or not. That's been my flea and other bug maddening experience thus far here in Bulgaria. I just finished the training that you'll be beginning shortly, but with the TEFL side of things. It's good. And don't worry much about the language. The teachers are all great. Good luck, and I'm sure we'll come across each other at some point.