I am applying to the Peace Corps very soon. A 27 month commitment to a foreign country, a foreign language, most likely cut off to the most of things I know and expect.
I just got off the phone with a former volunteer and as we chatted she explained how some days just leaving your house to buy tomatoes can be the hardest thing. Trying to communicate, being stared at, trying to just blend in is the most exhausting task. She talked about the cultural shell shock and how tempting it is just call your family and cry, to call home and say “I quit.” I felt this sinking feeling is my stomach, a knot of nervousness at the whole prospect. Within a few moments I felt the intense drive to conquer that pit, to feel my stomach fall out and pick it back up and get something done. “Small goals.” she said, “You’re not going to change the world, you’re working to help a community and you’re buying tomatoes.” I want to change me, under the pressure of helping others I want to be fired, bent, and polished and come out slicker, stronger, and wiser. Challenges I can’t run from, for my sake and so many others.