Filed under: Paraguay
And before I even knew it, the time has arrived. I have less than one week left in Paraguay. Less than one week in the Peace Corps.
For pretty much two years of my service, I have been waiting for the Peace Corps to mean something utterly significant. I spent two years in Paraguay waiting for the day when I would transcend it all and be the best Volunteer ever (and by best Volunteer I mean never have grouchy days, feel frustrated, shut down, isolated, lonely, homesick, or feel like a crazy emotional monster). I spent two years in Paraguay waiting for this experience to mean something, when I would hit that moment when I would think with utter conviction,‘Wow, it was all worth it.’ I waited.
For 2 years, those feelings never came. And truthfully, I felt disappointed. I felt cheated of a certain expectation I had, that my service in the Peace Corps would be this life-altering, mind-blowing experience where I would make a huge impact (and impact in American terms) in my community, make the best friends in the world in the Peace Corps and in Caazapá, and be forever changed for the better by this experience. Yet when the days started winding down and I found myself still continuously frustrated with failing projects, cliquey Peace Corps Volunteers, and flailing relationships in Caazapá with people I had the deepest connections with, I resigned myself to the fact that these feelings would never come- at least while I was still in Paraguay.
But I have one week left in Caazapá, the place where I’ve called home for two years of my life. And quite suddenly and unexpectedly, I feel it. Oh god, I feel it. And I feel it with an intensity that I didn’t know I would. These past two years were the most challenging of my life, but suddenly, everything I am reflecting on are all of those great moments- the 10% of my service that I had that took my breath away, where I learned and grew in the best ways possible, where projects I worked so hard on succeeded, where I established strong relationships with my homestay family from training, my neighbors, my close friends in my community, my VAC-mates, my G– and suddenly, I cannot even put into words how incredibly devastated I am to leave this life, this little world that I know I can never truly come back to again.
The past week has been a string of farewell parties with people in my community, my homestay family from training, my neighbors, my G-mates, and VAC-mates. This week I wrap up my final World Cultures classes, have a good-bye party at my cooperative, and at Liz and Denis’s house. Today my neighbors invited me over to one last carne asado Sunday, where I told each of the family members what I am going to miss most about them. There’s been so much laughter, so many hugs, and plenty of shared tears.
And in those moments when you are surrounded by your entire wonderful homestay family from training, and you are all crying while you load a bus, not knowing when you’ll see them again- when your neighbor bursts into tears while talking about memories you’ve shared together over the past 2 years- when your best friends pop up unexpectedly to your house for dinner and stand in a circle hugging you- it was worth it. It was all worth it. Every second, every moment, was worth it, to feel how it feels right now.
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