Monday, August 16, 2010

BOOM! 13 months to finish! Let the countdown begin!

A few weeks ago, Peace Corps volunteers in the neighboring shopping town had a party to celebrate “a year in country.” (We were officially a year in country on July 24).

I have another friend who, if asked, will tell you the month, day, hour and minute until time to go home.

Another friend pointed out that August 15 was our “half way mark.”

Myself, I’ve been waiting for September 17, because September 17 marks “one year to go before going home!” I personally can’t wait for September 18, because it will be the last September 18, I’ll spend in South Africa! For each and every day from that point on, I’ll have the perspective of: this is it, better enjoy it while it lasts!

However, Tuesday, August 17, marks 13 months to go, and boy, does it feel thrilling to think of only thirteen months. It feels much more manageable to say 13 months instead of the 27 months! So, I’m beginning my countdown a month early!

Why so happy to count down? Well, it’s been a difficult year for me, serving for Peace Corps in South Africa, and well, I feel pretty exited about being over the hump.

There must be a “pain of childbirth” quality about serving Peace Corps. Before I left for my service, I met up with the Returned Peace Corps Volunteers Group in my area. I met with them for their monthly dinners and we had the grandest time: there was laughing and joking, lots of story telling. It was one of the happiest groups of people I’ve ever met.

But I always came away from those dinners wondering, “Why didn’t anyone sign up for a second tour?”

And of course, some did serve a second term, and in fact, Peace Corps discourages multiple terms of service. (Peace Corps wishes the opportunity for any American able to serve and would rather give first-comers a shot over someone who has already served). But very few people in our group had served more than one term.

And now that I’m a year in, I’m hearing from a few of these Returned Peace Corps Volunteers from back home. And they’re all saying, “Congratulations! You’ve survived! The worst is over! You’ve made it! It’s cake from here on!”

And I think, “Why didn’t these guys warn me about how difficult my first year would be?”

And I remember feeling outraged, when I realized all the work that goes into child-rearing, when it dawned on me that the women in my family had never warned me about the hardships of raising a family! They all sat around laughing, telling stories, and remembering how wonderful their “babyhoods” were.

So, just like with childbirth and child-raising, Peace Corps volunteers seem to forget the pain and hardships and only remember only the fond parts!


I’ll be home in 13 months! Let the countdown begin! Woo hoo!



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