Friday, April 16, 2010
Life as a Peace Corps Volunteer is probably the most intense emotional rollercoaster you'll ever find yourself on. It doesn't take long for the catch phrase, "The toughest job you'll ever love" to ring true.
I've had trying days since I was reinstated back to Bulgaria, but overall I've kept my feet on the ground and plugged on through to this appreciated state of excitement and motivation. If I've said it once, I'll say it again - I wouldn't wish my accident on anyone, but WOW, has it given me an incredible perspective.
Things back in Samokov have been going great, then I stepped back a bit from my NGO duties to help substitute teach a bit. One month. I'm not going to lie - it was horrible. Even back home where you get to teach in your own language, I've never been comfortable in a teaching role. But, for one month, I got an incredible opportunity to see my kids in a new role. Instead of being the "fun" afterschool youth worker, I found myself in a position that demanded respect, and struggled to get it. I saw the system and how it works, and how it doesn't. I saw cultural expectations and norms play out.
I had my heartbroken.
For the first time I truly realized that I'm not equipped to help these kids. Will my Bulgarian ever be good enough to look them in the eye and tell them what they need to hear? Ask them the questions they need to be asked? Reassure them? Challenge them? LOVE THEM?
Probably not. In addition to a bunch of other things going wrong this week (still no puppy... please keep praying Bailey finds her way home!), I allowed myself to see reality in a new way.
Its not that I WON'T be a successful volunteer. Its not that I won't be productive or effective. It's that I need to change my expectations of altering a system and a culture and truly find a way to focus on these kids.
Always up for a challenge.
at 8:28 AM