It’s been a little bit over a month, a month since I took a 30-hour trip across the world to live on a speck on a map. Joining the Peace Corps was always high on my bucket list. It was an idea I flirted with for a while until finally senior year of college, I committed and applied. The process was relatively quick and easy. I never used the old application system but from what I’ve been told by other volunteers, the new application system has allowed for it to become a bit more streamlined and easy to navigate. When I thought about serving in the Peace Corps, I knew I either wanted to work in Education or Youth Development but location wise I was open to the world. I figured that I would never have another point in my life where the only commitment I have is to myself so why not go wherever the wind carries my dandelion soul.
Now I’m over a month into Pre Service Training, PST, living on a tiny island floating in the Indian Ocean. Comoros is a tiny country. It’s 98% Muslim and is stunningly beautiful. Life here is completely different from any other place I have ever lived. I’ve learned to adjust to living within a society that fully enforces gender role expectations, which tend to become limitations. I’ve learned to pick my battles and that slow and steady can make a stronger impact then jumping to argue against everything I don’t agree with. I’ve learned the true meaning of kindness and hospitality. Words that I always thought I fully understood until I came to an island that could literally be the example inside the dictionary.
My life is nothing like what I pictured it would be when I first entered college 4 years ago. Now standing on the other side, I can’t picture it any differently. One of my favorite quotes has always been ‘you get a strange feeling when you’re about to leave a place, not only because you’ll miss the place or the people, but because you’ll miss who you are in that moment because you’ll never be that way again.’ A month in and already I know I’m not the same person I was when I boarded that first flight leaving Washington D.C.
I don’t know what the next 26 months hold, what adventures will unfold and where I’ll go but I know that regardless of the obstacles and roadblocks I encounter, I can’t wait to see it through. Life in Comoros is different; Life as a Peace Corps Volunteer is different and getting a chance to experience it is going to be a whirlwind of a ride, so here’s to enjoying it.
Be Bold, Be Brave, Be-YOU-tiful