I think back to almost 8 months ago to the day, when I left the United States to serve as a Peace Corps Volunteer. In less than 12 hours, I will be reunited with my friends and family in Chicago during a visit for the holidays. As I sit in the airport terminal waiting to catch my flight, I find myself reflecting on the past 8 months.
I think back to the fears that I had before moving to Peru and now realize that the majority of those no longer exist. Will I like my job? Will I be friends with the other volunteers? Will I feel like I made the right decision by leaving my job in Malibu, CA, to work in a small rural town in a developing country? How will I maintain my friendships back home? Will I find a balance in my life? Will I ever be able to use the right form of por and para in Spanish (wait, this one is still an issue).
I think back to my first few weeks in Peru and how my eyes were so aware of the differences between my two lives, but 8 months later, my eyes are open to the similarities between my two worlds. Once I dig past the bucket baths, eating guinea pig, not understanding 100% of what is being said to me, it’s easy to see that there are so many similarities between my life here and in the United States. The reality of our divided world is that each human functions in the same basic manner, has the same basic needs, and despite extreme differences in our lifestyles, all seven billion of us are more alike than we realize, an idea that can be learned, if we take the time to invest in others. I have found more similarities between my life in Peru & the United States than I even imagined I would.
After 8 months…
My alarm clock has been exchanged for a rooster that has no indoor-voice.
A 5 hour bus trip to visit my friends seems like a breeze, not to mention a close trip.
No electricity, no running water, no internet? No problem.
Somedays, my commute to work can include a 45 minute car ride that is followed by a 30 minute hike up a mountain to go give a presentation, all while passing sheep and cows on the way.
After 8 months, I have come to love my life here in Peru. To be honest, it felt weird to say goodbye, even just for two weeks. I will miss seeing my host family, my counterparts, and friendly faces around my community. This is a mental state that I could not even fathom being in, even just a few months ago.
After 8 months, my life has been filled with more love, adventure, trials & errors, and more learning experiences than I could have ever imagined.
&& this have become my new normal.
P.S. Whether your beliefs lead you to celebrate Christmas, Hanukkah, Kwanzaa, or simply another seasons of life, may you enjoy this season with family and friends. Happy Holidays and thank you for following my journey thus far.