Hola! For those of you who have been anxiously waiting around clinging to my promise of one final blog post (oh wait….no one?) I apologize for the delay :)
I have been back stateside for about six months now and I can’t believe how quickly the time has passed! I have been spending time with people I love and enjoying the beautiful Phoenix weather (until about two days ago when it became deathly hot)! I just finished up the school year at a charter school where I was working as a long term substitute teacher in a Spanish classroom. I taught grades 3-8 and it was a really great opportunity for me to experience something a little different!
I keep in touch regularly with my family and friends in Colombia. Starting in the fall I will be teaching informal English classes via Skype to my host cousins (and in exchange we will converse in Spanish to keep my skills sharp!). My abuelo is still doing great and the rest of my family is happy and healthy as well.
I have been waiting until everything was finalized to share my plans for next year, but now that I have signed a contract for my job and a lease for my apartment I guess it’s about as final as it can get! I am excited to announce that at the end of this month I will be moving to Denver, Colorado where I have accepted a job teaching kindergarten ELA! Also, by complete coincidence, I happen to be working at a school where one of the other volunteers I served with in Colombia teaches. Talk about a small world! The job is a perfect fit for my passions and skill set and I think that I will be very happy living in Denver. I already have a list about a mile long of all the places I want to hike (and a second list nearly as long of places to do happy hour!).
Now that all of the updates are out of the way, it’s time to do something I have been putting off for six months. Writing a final post for this blog, for me, brings this chapter of my life to a final close.
All along I imagined writing one last entry that summed up my Peace Corps service into a concise and moving account of how it was a life changing experience and how Peace Corps really is ‘the toughest job you’ll ever love’. Now here we are, the time has come for the epic end all post, and while both of those things are true, they just don’t seem to do the experience justice. I struggle to find the words to explain just how much it meant to me or how it impacted the person I am today. In one sense, it doesn’t seem that much different than any other two year segment of my life. I had many personal milestones, plenty of failures, professional achievements, and my fair share of boredom too! Yet because these two years took place on another continent in a different culture, there is this expectation that I have neatly packaged insights that I can easily and eloquently relay when people ask, “How was Colombia?” I have plenty of interesting stories, which I enjoy sharing, but in the same way that the hamburger you had for dinner last night doesn’t define your whole week, those iguana eggs I had with my family—although an amusing story—in no way represents the experience I’ve had as a whole. I feel a heavy responsibility in summarizing my experience, because in telling my story, I also tell Colombia’s story.
What I can say is that there were highs and there were lows, but serving in the Peace Corps and dedicating two years of my life to living, learning, and loving in Colombia was the best decision I have ever made. It had been a long time dream, and I am so glad that despite setbacks, I made that dream a reality. Colombia and the people I met there have touched my heart and inspired me in a way that I have never experienced before, and I will be forever grateful for my time there. To the Peace Corps staff, my fellow volunteers, my Spanish teachers who sparked a desire to experience the world, my family who supported me throughout the journey, and most importantly, to the people of Colombia…..thank you from the bottom of my heart.
To everyone who has been reading over the past three years, thanks for being a part of the journey. Life is so beautiful and I am so glad I was able to record and share bits and pieces of it through this blog. This is the end of one adventure, which can only mean the beginning of a new adventure is on the horizon.
Whatever adventures await you, remember “Wherever you go, go with all your heart”.
One last time……paz y amor.