Tuesday, June 22, 2010

My Peace Corps Experience: Chapter Two

You might have been remarking that things have been quiet on the
blogging front for a while now, and you'd be right. I just haven't
really been up to it recently. Unless you've been hiding in a cave, or
haven't seen any news program in the past few weeks, you'll know that
the situation in Kyrgyzstan has been pretty tense. I'm not really
allowed to talk about it and I don't really know any more than you
would if you read the news. Basically the only additional thing I can
add to what you've read or heard is that I'm safe. Most of the
violence was restricted to the south, and the north remains peaceful.
The past few weeks have been really, really tough for all the
volunteers- almost as bad, if not worse than the two months of my
personal "dark ages." I'm handling everything better this go around,
but it is more difficult because, due to the recent violence, most of
the volunteers in the south are leaving the country and a few
volunteers from other oblasts, too. Among the volunteers that are
leaving are almost ALL of my best friends over here. Plus, K16s, who
were supposed to leave in August, are leaving now, too. I've been
blessed for so long with so many wonderful friends, and all of you
back home are so important to me, but serving in the Peace Corps with
my friends over here has been such a wonderful experience and has
allowed us to become as close within a year as I am with some of you
back home who I've known for years. There are just things that they
will understand that I couldn't ask you all to. So, saying goodbye to
them has forced me to star in an encore performance of my role as
human watering hose. Haha. I also realized, that I've never been left
before. I've moved so often, and took off for this great PC Adventure,
and left my friends and family behind. I have never known what it
feels like to be the one that gets left behind. And truthfully, it
sucks. After many discussions and intense internal battles, I've
decided not to take the PC's offer of Interruption of Service. They
offered it to all the volunteers here. Basically it is a chance to go
home early due to "circumstances beyond your control." You get to
leave without having to Early Terminate, and still get the benefits of
being a RPCV. (Returned PC Volunteer) If things change, and get more
violent, or unsafe, then of course, I'll come home. So, don't worry.
But right now, I feel safe and with the exception of saying goodbye to
people a year earlier than I had planned, I am okay. I'm not being
flippant, or not caring about my safety, I just feel like this is
still where I am meant to be. I made it this far, and as Daddy
reminded me a few months ago, God doesn't give you more than you can
handle. At the time, I thought God was overestimating my abilities,
but… I don't know, maybe it is not rational, and at times I feel that
it is against my better judgment, but I am staying. I can't explain
why really, but trust me, I'll be okay.

So, right now I'm packing to come home FOR A VISIT. I think a month at
home will give me an opportunity to clear my head and to prepare for
my last year in country. Coming over here for the first time was hard
because I: 1) didn't know anyone 2)didn't know the language 3)didn't
know the culture 4)didn't know my job 5)had never been away from home
for so long. After almost month of vacation I can come back with a lot
less trepidation than the first time. I am just going to have to make
a concentrated effort on making friends with the new group of
volunteers and strengthening friendship with people in my group that I
don't know as well. The next year, without my in-country support
network that got me through the first year, will be hard but I have
faith that I can deal with it. It'll be my Chapter Two.

For now, I'm hoping and praying that Kyrgyzstan will be peaceful and
stable and can recover from the tumultuous past few months. I know it
will take a lot of work and time, but I think it is doable.

Here's to hoping.

Miss you
Love from Kyrgyzstan (for the next 8 days)
Jess

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