Saturday, January 16, 2010

Last Critical Period in the Life of a Peace Corps Volunteer

Month 23 -27

I am just at the beginning of this stage, this month being month 23rd.

Trauma of Departure
Concerns about social re-entry
Bridging new and former identity
Redefinition of career
Redefinition of host-country based on relationships

Obsession with planning and scheduling

Check on trends, US popular culture with new trainees
Do Self-analysis: Identify factors of self and work gratification
Work on self-image
Shop for arts, crafts, souvenirs
Write friends, make social plans
Post PC travel plans
Transfer skills and knowledge to trainees
Arrange for gifts for host family

>From my own list:
Job search
Planning COS (Close of Service) Trip

In an attempt to get through this stage, an intervention is in order, in doing a self-analysis in identifying factors of self and work gratification, I present:

2009 Year in Review

(Inspired by my best friend, Punam, who has tremendously and unconditionally supported me throughout everything in my life ).

I spent New Years 2009 in Prague! From that trip, I was able to connect with the girls in my group and allowed me to appreciate life even more for seeing another beautiful country.

I quit Piano lessons. Found out the source of why I felt so unhappy, from not having the right learning environment. Silver lining: I got to learn the keys and one song, and was successful at recognizing the source of my problem and quit at something. All my life, I have a hard time admitting to myself that I can quit something and not be disappointed in myself for not pushing through and succeeding. An example, bad experience in life was a Chemistry course in college. About 3/4 of the class dropped out, but I was determined to push through with a passing grade. My GPA suffered because of that. Quitting Piano proved to me that I know myself and my limits well.

Reached Intermediate High on my Romanian Language Exam! Felt more comfortable in contributing to conversations with my host family and at the office.

Had my Birthday celebration where I celebrated the Moldovan way. Made a ton of food with my host mom and dad's help and served 15 people at the office. Made me realize how much I love how Americans celebrate birthdays, the spoiled way. The greatest part, I learned how to cook Moldovan food.

Was asked to write an article for my village's local high school. I was able to explain my work and about Peace Corps.

Celebrated one year as a Peace Corps Volunteer! At that time, it seemed such an accomplishment.

Had two meetings where I consider to be one of the biggest success in doing what I do, that is to help my community build a stronger network with other organizations. For both meetings. I was able to get my Mayor and others to join and get information for future projects. From one I was able to place my self identification within the community I work with.

Was chosen one of the mentors for new volunteers. Somehow this was a big turning point for me, seeing that I went through so many challenges and had to re-evaluate my presence in Moldova so many times over, to see how my mentally changed to loving what I do.

Completed the Mural! This project allowed me to emerge all my energy into art.

Went to Rome and saw Tyler! My appreciation for life, yet again increased for seeing the world's antiquity and sharing it with my favorite person.

Turned in two grants for the bathroom and plumbing repair for the high school. This project allowed me to truly act as a facilitator within the community to get it together, and I felt fulfilling in doing the job, I was sent to do.

Romania pre-Christmas and Berlin for New Years 2010! Loving the world and its beauty.

Thinking back to 2009 compared to 2008, 2009 kicked 2008 in it's behind. I had far less crying sessions, I enjoyed the complexities of my service much much more, I felt more comfortable in my skin in being a Cambodian American Peace Corps Volunteer in Moldova.

I have a lot planned for 2010 and a lot unplanned. I know there is an adventure awaiting me and I know I am going to enjoy every minute of it.

Here is to a happy, healthy, best year ever in our lives!

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