I’m not sure how to tell this story being fair to all of its participants, myself, and tell the truth. All I can say is this is my perspective and I hope I do it justice.
On Friday January 6th, 2012, my schools told my program manager they didn’t want me to teach in my community anymore. My PM tried to talk them around, but minds had been made up and thought it was a bad idea for me teach at different schools in the same area. So in an hourish (+), I packed up my life in Ban Rai, loaded it in the Peace Corps SUV and they took me back to Bangkok, not sure when, if ever, I’ll return to what has been my home for almost the past year.
There were some long-standing difficulties with one of my counterparts, we never really gelled from the start, and things deteriorated fast. I don’t want to list too many of the details to maintain some form privacy, at least until my Peace Corps career is finished and some time has passed for more reflection. I know that it takes two to tango and that I made some mistakes, but I do not feel like what was brought up as ‘issues’ warranted this kind of response. I never thought that this would happen to me. I am heartbroken to leave my community and going through stages of grieving. My Thai community friends have been pretty upset and we’ve both been missing each other immensely.
Peace Corps is in the process of finding me a new site. I’m waiting out that time with a lovely gal from the older group of Volunteers. As easy and fantastic as it would be to go back to America to be with my family or Australia to be with Manfriend, I just don’t feel like I’m done with Thailand yet. This has been the closest I came to imagining real life in the western world again, but it still doesn’t feel like it’s for me yet. I’m frustrated, annoyed, angry, and everything else in the book at Thailand, but I don’t want to leave.
I’m terrified of reintegrating into a new village and have lost a lot of confidence in myself and how to live in this country. In many ways, I’m more nervous this time around than the last. I know what to expect, but I didn’t think that I would have to do it again. It is a chance for a fresh start and to be able to redo some of the things I did wrong in my first community. This is certainly going to be a unique experience, even within this Peace Corps one, so I’m trying to prepare myself for that during this time of transition.
I was hoping to have a few less rollercoasters in this second year of Peace Corps. I would (sort of) know what was happening, what to expect or at least realize that I’d never really know what was happening. That’s been blown to the wind and, eventually, I’ll be ok with that. One thing I’ve been comforting myself with leaving my site is the quote, ‘Don’t cry because it’s over, smile because it happened.’ Yeah Erin, just keep smiling, su su!