Five Things I Didn’t Realize About Peace Corps

Until I got there

A different ‘travel’ experience then any other
As a moderately experienced traveler, I thought that I would be mentally prepared for the challenges of Peace Corps service. While definitely helping deal with homesickness and loneliness, there are many differences between solo travel ( in that I mean not on a tour or cruise) and the very non-independent life in PC/the village. I don’t have the sense of incredible freedom I get high off of when I travel. It’s more along the lines ‘Is this my real life? Well, alright.’

Chlorophyll more like Borophyll 
A high school friend was on her way to London for graduate school and showed her books and magazines she acquired for the ‘long’ six hour flight. It occurred to me that six hours sitting in a stationary position without much to do didn’t feel like much of a challenge to me anymore. In fact, now that I’m in school break for weeks on end in the village, it seems kind of laughable. And I’m really glad to have developed this ability to be bored, but for it not to be such a bad thing. It’s allowed me time to try all sorts of projects and broaden my mind in ways that I previously didn’t have time or motivation to try (crafting, cooking, a class on genetics/evolution).

How much I would change
Any one time in a young adult’s life, they think they understand a good portion of this thing called life. I was one such person. I didn’t think there would be many monumental changes and growth that were still necessary. But there were. And PC helped me go through them. Core beliefs of mine were shaken and discarded for new ones. My mind has been blown over and over again in the good and bad things in Thailand and my life in it as a Volunteer. I still have a long way to go too.

The struggle between strength and helpless
During PC, I’ve never felt stronger. I’ve also never felt quite as crAzy either. Straight up, thought I should be in a loony bin kind of crazy. I never considered that before I came to Thailand as a Volunteer. Worrying about a new language, pissing someone off for what seems like nothing, or dealing with cultural differences, quite a few times I wanted to tear some hair out. And then I remind myself how much better I am than yesterday. And the week before that. And last year. And I realized I can be a little mental, but still be mentally strong.

Find out who your friends (and family) are
I realize that it’s not easy to be friends with me. To go without face to face interaction, run in similar social circles, or have similar day-to-day issues. So it’s without blame or anger that I have fewer people to share news with. It makes me appreciate the people in my life even more than before. They’ve been on this rollercoaster ride with me and reminded me that I’m not alone in this. The even better thing about PC is you meet a large group of similarly minded people who see you at your worst, but still manage to like you. These are the people I want to surround myself with for the rest of my life.

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5 thoughts on “Five Things I Didn’t Realize About Peace Corps

  1. very nice to watch you changing so much. It always happens the hard way, otherwise we would try to avoid it. Good luck and further success, it won’t be easy but it will feel easier with every step taken. Stay with it and all the best from an older and therefore a bit more weathered friend.

    • Two fantastic compliments from two of my wiser ladies. Thank you for recognizing the change and the struggle. It makes me feel that it’s all the more worth it.

  2. Hi, my name is Nancy. I stumbled across your blog on the peacecorpsjournals.com Thailand page. I was recently invited to be a primary school teacher in Thailand with the peace corps. My staging date is in January. I had a feeling i would be going to Thailand for a while now (thanks staging dates in peacecorps wiki!), so I have been looking at these blogs for a while. I just want you to know that I’ve found your blog to be incredibly helpful. So, thank you for always posting such helpful advice/information! I appreciate it!

    • Congratulations on your Invitation and welcome to the PC Thailand family! I’m so glad that my blog has been helpful for you. I try to gear it towards things I wanted to know before I came to Thailand. Enjoy your last few months at home, eat as much tasty food as possible, and show your family some love!

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