Here she goes again.

I swear in as an official Peace Corps Volunteer in under 10 days. I leave for my permanent site in about as many. I leave my soft, sweet little bubble of friends and rambunctious bule (white folks).

All the folks at Coban Rondo

All the folks at Coban Rondo

Preparing to come to the Peace Corps is vaguely akin to a sick joke, full of dramatic irony. Everyone watching from the other side knows that no matter how much you try, you’ll never prepare enough or in the right way. You’ll never be able to pack the right things or spend enough time with the right people or say goodbye in the right way. You’ll never be prepared for a new climate and new people and a new language. You’ll try because, well, what other choice do you really have. You have to try. Try I did. I prepared myself for the heat as best I knew how. I packed what I thought would be appropriate. I spent as much time as I could with the people I love. I said goodbye in the only way I knew how. I mentally and emotionally amped up my steely resolve to be completely alone for a long time. Maybe not two years, but at least until I learned the language and made friends in my excessively slow fashion. And then PST happened.

Let’s all just take a moment to chuckle at me about this one. I had prepared myself to be alone for an undetermined amount of time and then I was thrown into the mix with 49 other like-minded, insane individuals. You know that person in your group of friends, that one person who’s a little off in some way? Maybe a little kooky or idealistic. Maybe they are brilliant in a way you don’t expect or awkward in a way that’s endearing. It’s just one person you can’t quite place in one box and you love them all the more for it. Imagine being that kind of person your whole life; now imagine being thrown into a room full of 49 other people just like that. It’s freaking magical.

Eat the cracker with no hands!!

Eat the cracker with no hands!!

Next week we say goodbye. Again. We try to get ready for the unknown again. There’s not even anyone on the other side to giggle at our futile efforts. Our sites are all individual and new. Those 20 of us going to West Java are in for a whole new level of what-the-hell. There are only three Peace Corps Volunteers that have been there before us, all of whom moved there after living in East Java for two years. So, we prepare again. We put all of our belongings back into bags and firm up for a teary goodbye and get on a train.

Until then we are spending as much time together as possible. My host family is in a perpetual state of dismay and concern over my whereabouts. Both because I come home at ungodly hours (7pm and 8pm!) and because I can’t seem to stop falling. I blame the rain, mainly, but we all know it’s also just a trait I possess. We have been back to Coban Rondo for a fun picnic with the entire trainee population which was promptly rained out after playing traditional Indonesian Independence Day games. We head to McDonald’s and Pizza Hut while we still can, we grab a beer on the roof when we’re feeling overwhelmed and have a dance party. I’ve already booked my plane ticket to Bali for late September when we are allowed travel. I’ll be vacationing with a large group of fellow volunteers and we plan to recline on beautiful sandy white beaches with crystal clear water and adorable bungalows. I can get through absolutely anything with that picture in my mind.

2 thoughts on “Here she goes again.

  1. Dear Volunteers,

    We are excited to announce the Blog It Home contest developed by the Peace Corps Office of Third Goal & Returned Volunteers Services. This is great opportunity for our Volunteers to participate in the contest and possibly win!

    Please, read the instructions below and if you have blog that meets the criteria of the contest, send us the link by next week Friday, June 21st.

    Our post will collect and review received blogs and nominate the top PCV blog to the PC/HQ by July 1st.

    This contest is for Peace Corps posts worldwide and 6 currently serving PCVs with outstanding blogs will be selected by the Office of Third Goal & Returned Volunteers Services to participate at the Third Goal Mobilization Summit in Washington D.C. this August!

    Winners will be announced on or before July 15th, 2013.

    Good luck,
    Bill & Mahabat
    ________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________
    Blog It Home

    The Office of Third Goal and Returned Volunteer Services is proud to announce the 2013 Blog it Home competition. This competition will serve as a major part of our efforts to elevate the Third Goal and infuse best Third Goal practices throughout the volunteer lifecycle. To participate in the competition, each post is encouraged to select one PCV whose blog exemplifies the spirit of Peace Corps’ Third Goal. Up to six currently serving volunteers with outstanding blogs will be selected by the Office of Third Goal and Returned Volunteer Services to attend the Third Goal Mobilization Summit in Washington D.C. this August.
    Contest Goals

    1) To highlight and celebrate the great Third Goal work being done at post.

    2) To teach and spread best practices and practical tips for Third Goaling to all members of the Peace Corps family both during and after the Summit.

    3) To infuse the Third Goal Mobilization Summit with the energy, enthusiasm and skills of some of our best Third Goal champions.
    Guidelines/Qualifications

    To be eligible to win, the PCV must:

    · Be currently serving.
    · Have a recommendation from the Country Director.
    · Be available for travel to Washington, D.C. August 21-26, 2013.
    · Be able to plan and facilitate a Third Goal-related session at the Summit.
    · Be willing to give a Third Goal presentation in a local school while here in D.C. (to be arranged by the Office of Third Goal and Returned Volunteer Services).
    · Commit to sharing Third Goal takeaways with other Volunteers when he/she returns to post.
    Award Criteria

    Blog It Home competitors will be judged based on the following criteria:

    · Demonstrated commitment to increasing cross-cultural understanding: 40%
    · Cultural richness of blog: 30%
    · Quality of writing and photos: 30%

    The final winners will be selected by the Office of Third Goal and Returned Volunteer Services.
    Prize

    Airfare to and from country of service to Washington D.C., including per diem, for the inaugural Third Goal Mobilization Summit.

    • I don’t think my CD would let me go in August! Dammit! But this is super cool, I’m def going to pass it along to the PCVs that have been here longer. Thanks for the info!

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