Every time I tell someone that I am leaving for the Peace Corps, in oh 16 days, their reaction is always why in the world did you sign up for the Peace Corps?
Even though I know this is the question that is coming at me, I never quite know how to answer it. My gut reaction reply is always that I have wanted to do this since I was a little girl.
While this is true, it’s not very comprehensive, nor does it explain why I actually decided to take the plunge and go through with this now.
Another thing that people often say is wow that is incredible, that is so admirable. This always makes me feel ridicules. I didn’t join the Peace Corps to have people think that I am doing something noble. While I did join to help people, and to make a difference in the lives of a community, I also have my own really selfish reasons for joining.
The real reason that I joined the Peace Corps is a little more something like this:
Ever since I was a little girl, I wanted to join the Peace Corps. I remember reading about it in Jr. High and thinking how amazing it would be. In my Jr. High mind I thought the perfect life would be to graduate college, join the Peace Corps, travel the world, go to law school and become a human rights activist. While that plan has long ago been abandoned, and seemingly all other plans have also been abandoned, the Peace Corps has often come back to my mind when my thoughts have drifted to what I want to do with my life. The selfish part of the equation is, I graduated college and had no idea what I wanted to do with my life. I got stuck at a job where nothing I did or said mattered, and went through a really devastating break up with Tommy. I spend a lot of my time volunteering, because I was lost in life and needed to do something that mattered. A friend who I loved and admired moved to New York to go to school and follow her dreams, and all of a sudden something changed in me. I thought what the heck am I doing here? I realized that I needed to figure out my dreams and go for it. Victoria leaving really was a huge eye opener for me. I saw that people don’t stay together just because they are friends and family and love each other. Brave people follow their dream, even though it means leaving everything they love behind. So I thought about my life and decided that besides my amazingly wonderful, perfect family, there was not a whole lot to hold me back from packing my bags and leaving the country.
So here is the truth as I know it. I joined the Peace Corps because I have an innate desire to help people, to develop a community, to learn to love a different culture and a different people. But I also joined to Peace Corps to escape a job, to travel the world, to make new friends, to get over a heart break and to figure things out.