I always love Autumn for all the changes it brings. Its pretty much impossible to ignore changes occurring this time of year. With fall slowly creeping in as the months get ready to close out another year, the temperature is shifting from simmering summers to chilly winters. Change is inevitable, uncontrollable, and sometimes unexpected. Our personal thoughts and reactions to change are deeply related to ones own perspective and thus can be associate change with positive or negative outcomes and expectations. I believe change can be beautiful, as in the way the leaves gradually change into bold, vibrant, hues of red, gold, and brown. It can be exciting, as in how I get to celebrate another birthday each November. Yet, it can also be disheartening, for example, to see out how close friends have become more like associates over time. Change is a part of life.
I've had ample opportunity to experience change; especially over the past year. I finished up my senior year of college, graduated and moved back home from the JHU Campus in Baltimore. Once back in NY, I packed my life into a backpack and walked 500 miles across Spain. That was a HUGE change in lifestyle that wound up being an AMAZING experience. After returning back home, I experienced yet another change- this time in my Peace Corps nomination. I was originally nominated to leave late summer 2010. However, I found out in early august that I would instead be returning home to wait for a new nomination. After talking with my recruiter and my placement officer I decided to wait until 2011.
This twist was an undercover blessing. It provided me with an opportunity to spend more time at home with family and friends, visit loved ones one last time before taking off, and work to earn some extra money. I was lucky enough to find not only a part time job but also a fantastic internship position related to planning and HIV/AIDS.
What's more being home allows me to see what I've missed while in Baltimore for the past 4 years. I chat with my parents, go to my brothers basketball games, cook with my sister, talk with my grandparents, shop with my aunt, and just spend lots of quality time with family in ways that couldn't before. I also get a sense of what i'll miss while I'm away in Nicaragua. I'm still getting used to the idea that I'll be away for 2 years…
I know moving in January will be a gigantic transition for which it would be impossible to prepare. So on some level I've tried to keep an open mind. But, my extra- inquisitive, list-making, ESTJ personality won't quit. It's now less than 2 months until staging and I'm overwhelmed with thoughts and feelings about my decision to do the Peace Corps! Reflecting on my current emotional state I realize that my pre-travel emotions are WAY more intense then I thought they would be. At times, I question if i'm even really ready for this. My brain is busy thinking about everything that must be done before I leave, what I might miss while i'm gone, and what Nicaraguan life could be like when I get there. My mental processes also have to juggle 1001 other things that are not even Peace Corps related. Then, my heart is in a flurry of emotions related to leaving home, loved ones, America, and all that I come to know in my cushy little Long Island life.
Slowly, I'm realizing that it would be weird if I wasn't nervous and wrong if I felt fully prepared. You can't be prepared for this job regardless of how many PCV/ RPCV blogs you've read, people you've talked to, or trips you've made abroad prior to your service. So basically, I should spend a lot less time stressing about the unknown- if any at all. Whatever is going to happen will happen. The most I can do at this point is enjoy life Pre-Peace Corps and maintain a positive outlook, knowing that once 1.11.11 comes my way, everything will change and nothing about my life will be the same.
“For everything you have missed, you have gained something else, and for everything you gain, you lose something else.”- Ralph Waldo Emerson
“Any change, even a change for the better, is always accompanied by drawbacks and discomforts.”- Arnold Bennett
"A Change Gonna Come"- Sam Cooke