Five weeks until I take off for Albania! Some days it seems waayyy too soon, but other days it’s not nearly soon enough. I’ve made a large dent in my shopping and packing, which has resulted in a large dent in my wallet too.
I’ve been experiencing various waves of anxiety and excitement–mostly excitement–as my departure date (March 18th) gets closer. I’ve been trying my best to stay focused on studying Albanian, keeping close tabs on how I spend my money and time, and preparing mentally for my experiences in the Peace Corps. I received some great advice (actually, I don’t really know if it could be classified as “advice,” but it’s something I will remember) from two women I respect: my mother and my Grandma Snow. Combined, these women have over 120 years of life experience. They have three college degrees, three missions, eight children, thirteen grandchildren (none of those grandchildren are my mom’s, as she frequently complains about :-p), and four great-grandchildren between them, not to mention the knowledge that only living and traveling all over the world can give a person. I can’t remember which of them said this quote verbatim, but they both supported its meaning:
“The most important thing that we can learn for ourselves and teach our children is that there are good people everywhere.”
I won’t lie and say that it has been easy for me to move back home after living, studying, and working independently for four years. During the past five months there were days where it felt like I was back in high school. But as soon as I gave it a little time, I was reminded that there are good people in Henderson/Las Vegas–both people I knew before I left and new people I’ve met here during my pre-Peace Corps hiatus. I’m grateful for the people who have been excited for me, encouraged me, and helped me prepare physically and mentally for this commitment.
And soon I’ll be looking forward, to the people I will meet in Albania and how they will change my life. My handbook describes Albanians as friendly, hospitable, and welcoming. Hopefully they will be accepting of this sarcastic American brunette! My mothers are absolutely right: There are good people everywhere, whether they live in southern Nevada or Oregon or Morrocco or Albania. I can’t wait to meet my fellow Volunteers, my host family, my students, and those in my community so I can fulfill the second and third goals of the Peace Corps, which really comes down to that same adage. I intend, as so many people have asked, to share with you the experiences I have with the people I will meet and work and play with, and I can only hope to adequately represent the good Americans I know to my future Albanian friends.
I’m inspired and very happy that you will be representing all of us there–we’re lucky. My daughter, Mahasin, is on a Fulbright fellowship at Bethlehem University in Israel (West Bank), and her experience is the exact one you learned from the Wise Women in your family. Three cheers for the good people.
Good luck on your adventure….!