I officially have eight days left as a Peace Corps volunteer and 10 days left in Georgia. The time is flying by so fast it is surreal. As the clock ticks down, I’m inundated with all kinds of emotions. There have been a lot of lasts lately. Last time seeing friends (at least in Georgia). Last time visiting this or that place that I’ve come to love. Last GLOW meeting. Last grant written. And I’ve tried to take a moment at each to acknowledge and appreciate it.
While I will have many sad moments in the week to come, sadness is not the overriding emotion I’m feeling lately. In fact, it is quite far down on the list. To be honest, I’m ready for this experience to be over. If I’m REALLY being honest, I’ve probably been ready for quite some time. And once I come to such a place, I get impatient for the next thing. I’ve been impatient for that for quite some time. However, the process of getting to the next thing fills me with anxiety and dread. So, I’ve spent much of the last month struggling to finish up my projects here, do my final Peace Corps reports, and start the job search process in earnest. But I’ve been dogged by a kind of paralysis the whole way. I’m getting it done but not nearly as quickly or efficiently as I should be. My anxiety comes from knowing that I will once again be in the position of needing to find a job fast, but really not wanting to take a job for the sake of having a job as I have always had to do in the past. Joining the Peace Corps was about many things for me. But first and foremost, it was about taking control of my career path and finding a job I love. While the Peace Corps provides a readjustment allowance to Returned Peace Corps Volunteers (RPCVs), I know that in the real world this money doesn’t go very far when you have rent to pay, a new wardrobe to buy, and a moving van to rent. But I’m REALLY trying to not let that derail me from my mission to not settle for an okay job instead of a job in which I can find real fulfillment.
So, there is a lot of anxiety and uncertainty in my life right now. But, there are some things I do know for sure. First, on June 12, I will finish my Peace Corps service by ringing a bell in the Peace Corps office. I will then enjoy my last weekend in Georgia with friends in Tbilisi. The Ambassador will host us at his home for a BBQ and pool party on Saturday which we are all really excited about. Very early Monday morning I will hop on a flight to Athens where I will spend three days on my own before Ann joins me for another three days in Athens before we head to Santorini where Aaron will join us. We’ll relax on the beach for four days, then back to Athens for one day and then I say farewell to Ann and Aaron for a while and fly off to Berlin. I’ll spend five days in Berlin on my own exploring the city and reflecting on yet another huge transition in my life. Then on July 1, I land in NYC where I’ll spend one full day taking in my favorite city on earth and meeting baby Ella! And then, finally, off to North Carolina where I get to spend about two and a half weeks enjoying the company of one of my favorite people on earth, John. This two and a half weeks will likely also include a trip north to Philly to apartment hunt (and if I’m lucky, interview?) and a week at the beach! On July 21, I arrive in Indiana to spend a week and a half with my family before heading off on a road trip to Yellowstone at the beginning of August. And finally, in mid-August, John and I make the move to Philly, where hopefully sometime in the near future I will find that job I’m so anxious about.
It just struck me that this summer is shaping up to be just as busy as last summer. But this summer will be filled with family and friends I haven’t seen in a long time, really great food, exciting adventures, and beautiful beaches. And let’s not forget new beginnings.
When all of this activity has died down some, I’m sure I will have some time to reflect on the grand adventure the last two years has been. However, I can already say that despite some of the really low moments I’ve had here, this experience has been everything I could have hoped for. It has given me a confidence in so many aspects of my life that I lacked previously. I’m not one for regrets, but I have wondered what my life would be like now if I had had this experience at 24 as I once planned instead of now. But what if’s are pointless, so I am grateful to have had this experience now. I’ve gained so much from it.
So, as I said in my last post, I have made a point of spending my last month and a half spending time with people who have come to mean a lot to me. Above you’ll find photos from some of our outings. While I’ve been paralyzed when it comes to work, I’ve been very successful in taking advantage of quality time with people I care about.