Wednesday, August 4, 2010
PST or PTS...
Pre-Service Training is almost over! In two days I will become an official Peace Corps Volunteer and move to Site. There is a large part of me that is excited and ready to begin my two years in Armenian. I am ready to work in my school, where I will know my students and be able to start accessing my community so that I can decide what it is that I can do to make a difference in it. It’s no secret to most that my PST has been pretty tough on me. I came to country with a dislocated jaw, thinking things couldn’t get much worse. The truth is they can and they did. From problems back home that seem un-bearable to problems with my heart that lead to a few weeks of me feeling pretty awful, my strength has been tested. I have been homesick, sick of home, and physically sick. There are nights when I have gone home and cried for hours and nights where I just stayed up looking at the wall, not having any tears left to cry. But no matter what I got through it, and though I may have thought about going home, the truth is I don’t really have anywhere to go, so I know I need to be tough, and PST has prepared me for it. I am ready to move on and stop worrying about what is going on back home, and start making a life for myself here in my community. I am so ready to be region neighbors with Ashley, I know we are going to have so much fun, I am so lucky to have her as a best friend!
What I am not ready for, is to leave my family. I am so comfortable in my house. I love my family. I can go and sit with them when I want to be social, but it is also perfectly ok for me to stay in my room and study and talk to my family. They give me space to do whatever I want to, but are always close by if I need to talk or hang out, or learn to cook something! Before coming to Armenian I was most concerned about living with a host family, but this experience has been perfect. Tonight as I was sitting on the couch with my sister, helping her set up an email account and sign up for information about study abroad programs and scholarships, she looked at me with big sad eyes and said she will really miss me. The truth is I will really miss her too! I loved having a sister here who I can talk to. Not just because she speaks English, but because she always wants to help me or know what is going on. The other night I stayed up pretty late just to watch a movie with her. She loves American movies, and books. I let her read any of my books that she likes, and gave her a couple to keep here in Alapars that I have not read yet, so that I will have to come back to get them.
Tonight when I got home, I walked around the village to spend some time with, and ultimately say goodbye to some of the villagers that I have spent time here with. Mainly the kids and the dogs. I didn’t even have to seek anyone out. As soon as I turned the corner my lil Andrenik came running to me. Grabbed me by the hand and lead me toward his house. Soon after Mena grabbed my other hand and I had a full escort. I was guided to a little house shared by three families and asked to tea. For once I accepted. I told them that I was leaving in two days and they said they would miss me. The mom told me that her kids love me and would be sad. We talked for awhile, they asked how old I was, and for once I replied honestly 26. It just feels so old here, they expect you to be married so young and I don’t want them to think anything is wrong with me. We took some pictures, the kids love having their picture taken, and I showed them some pictures of my dogs back home. They laughed. They think it’s silly that I love their dog so much. Eventually I got some courage up and asked them if I could take Shoonik out of her cage and walk her. They said yes. It was a very bittersweet moment for me. I will miss this little village so much. Believe it or not, I think of it as home. I feel like the people here, the adults that is, have just started to warm up to me. They have watched me hang out with their kids and animals for a few months now, and have just started to try to talk to me, and now I am leaving. When I walked home I felt so sad, and was surprised to find a few tears in my eyes. Even though I will see the kids before I leave again, it felt like the last time I will get to play with them and hang out.
When all is said in done, I have to leave, it is time. You have to keep moving on, I am learning that change is a good thing and can often bring about unexpected happiness. I have already had an amazing experience and I have yet to even begin my two years of service. I am so happy and lucky to be here serving Armenia, and serving my country and serving my God.