Over and over when I tell people I will be starting Peace Corps service soon, they respond with, “Why?!” I get it.
1. I have a good, secure job.
2. I live in a city that I love.
4. My roommate is a really awesome and adorable rabbit.
5. In the last few years, I have really begun to explore who I am, what I can be, and what really makes me happy
Because I want to continue to do that. Because I want to pursue my dreams. Because I want to move outside of my comfort zone and really continue to push my self-understanding.
If that answer isn’t satisfying enough, here’s the full story:
In high school I had a fantastic Spanish teacher named Mr. Parker. Mr. Parker had not served in the Peace Corps, but he had spent some of his younger years gallivanting around Mexico and probably other places I don’t remember. He regaled our class with stories of his adventures, and each time he did I was amazed by how even the students who did not love Spanish or necessarily get it would cling onto his every word. I knew that I wanted something like that. And he taught me to love Spanish. Adventure + a love of language + a desire to understand other cultures + an already existing lean towards service = Peace Corps seed planted.
Fast-forward to college. I got a minor in Teaching English as a second language (which came with a certificate, to be a little more official). One of my instructors of one of those courses looked like Jeffrey Tambor and shared with us his stories of being one of the first Peace Corps volunteers. I knew then that it was my post-college plan.
But then, of course, as I was prepping for my last year of college, I met a boy. And, to be honest, I got completely immersed in his world and life and left all of my plans behind.
During our five years together, the fact that I was in with him in this country and not somewhere exotic living the Peace Corps life became a slight pain-point in the relationship, but was by no means the impetuous for it ending. The relationship did end, and within a couple of months I was telling my friends so that they would hold me accountable: I will apply for the Peace Corps by August 2014. I gave myself 18 months to discover who I was alone.
Those 18 months were pretty awesome, and, 12 months after that deadline, it’s still awesome. I have had the best time doing what I wanted to do when I wanted to do it and learning what truly makes me happy and what kind of bullshit I don’t want in my life.
I am more ready than ever to embark on this new adventure.