I think I’ve reached my “sophomore year” of Peace Corps… What does that mean, exactly? Well, let me explain it to you a little more clearly.
Sophomore year of high school: Let’s just say “fit hit the shan”. I was done with it all- done with trying in my classes, done with homework, done with diving, done with being told what to do, done with taking care of myself… just done. I wanted to give up on school, family, and in all honesty sometimes life. Looking back on it now it all seems so silly. What was I thinking? Thankfully I had my dad (and my friends, and my teachers, and my friends’ parents) picking me up and putting me back on track (I also had was given the incentive that if I got all A’s the next semester I could get my belly button pierced… and at the time that seemed like a great deal to me!). Before I knew it, it was time for my first day at college. Oh boy.
Sophomore year of college: It was time for another “fit hit the shan” moment… er, semester. Or two. My photography business was kicking butt and my classes weren’t really interesting to me. I’d broken up with my boyfriend of 2 1/2 years and was focusing more on “creating my own identity apart from ‘us'” (aka partying) than on my classes. I’d been accepted into the School of Journalism, but wasn’t doing the work to keep up (party because I was making up excuses and partly because it wasn’t what I thought it was going to be). I went home one weekend and I had prepared a speech to tell my dad I quit and I wanted to focus on growing my business and using my “college fund” to go to photography seminars and workshops. My dad said that was not a goo idea and encouraged me to stick with it- because he knew I’d be regretting dropping out by the time May 2010 rolled around. And… he was right.
May 2010 rolled around and it felt so good to say, “I am officially a college graduate!” While my grades weren’t what they could have been, I still made it… and it has opened up so many doors for me… so many, in fact, that August 2012 (close of service with Peace Corps) kind of freaks me out.
So I think that’s what’s going on now. I’ve almost made it though the first semester of teaching, which is in reality like the sophomore year of this experience. I’m constantly fighting the battle with myself of trying to decide if this is where I should be… or if I should be back in America doing something else… or if I should be in another country doing another thing. I can put on a happy smile and pretend like everything is great here but the reality is I’m fighting a hard internal battle: with myself. I know what I should say (which is I’m here doing it for them), but what I’m really saying is there is so much else I could be doing back at home. Yesterday when I was feeling really homesick (another breakdown on the rutiera… those 4 hours alone sure know how to get the best of me), I was able to call my dad. Our connection was terrible but he reminded me of the time I was struggling in the past, and he reminded me how quickly the 4 years went by… and how quickly these 21 more months are going to fly by.
Again, my dad was right. It doesn’t make it any easier right at this moment, but I know when I COS (close of service), I will be so happy that I did it… and it’ll be another thing to cross off my bucket list.
In the meantime… I’m holding on as tight as I can.