07 February 2011

What's in it for me?

I came to Peace Corps with the phrase "I'm doing it for them" stuck in my head. I have said it over and over again because it's what I thought was going to get me through the 27 months... but after a long talk with the doctor here, I realized that was good, but not the best thing for me. And here's why. The 8 months I've been here I've been telling myself that I'm doing it for the Moldovan people... and I also feel like I'm doing it for my friends and family back home. Everyone is so supportive of what I'm doing here and I am very thankful for that (because there are some volunteers here who don't have support from their family or friends). However, I feel like recently I've found myself in the position where I'm here for everyone else but myself. Sure, being in PC looks good on a resume. Sure it opens doors for Master's degree programs and jobs. Sure, I like the attention that everyone gives me... but when push comes to shove... who am I REALLY doing this for? So now I'm trying to work through my thoughts and figure out if it's just my typical "sophomoritis" as my dad likes to call it, or if this really is where I'm supposed to be and what I'm supposed to be doing with my life. I know I'm not the only PCV juggling these thoughts right now but I also know it's a huge decision to make- do I stay or do I go. But the doctor also made a good point. I have 3 options right now:

1. Stay where I am + teach full time = unhappy
2. Stay where I am + teach not full time + skype (or other) project = potential to be happy
3. Go home = happy but potential to feel regret of leaving

So, at this point, option 2 seems to be the best thing right now. She said she can tell I seem passionate about this project I want to do and that it seems like a great idea (which I can't take credit for, but I'm happy to move it forward).

She also reminded me that I am a volunteer. No one is paying me to do my job. In fact, it's not even a job. It's work (which I think is quite different). Moldova knows they have problems. They know this country is corrupt. They know this... which is why Moldova is a Peace Corps country in the first place. They want help. And if teaching isn't for me (I have two partners who are not bad teachers at all and they are both very knowledgable in English), then, if I want to stay here and I really do want to help people (and myself) then I need to start working forward on doing what I want to do... which is helping the kids in a way that isn't just by teaching them English.

... and that's where I am right now.

(And hopefully gaining weight back thanks to these incredible cookies)

On a side note... 5 of our students went to the raion (kind of like a county) last weekend and competed in an Olympiad of English, which is basically a competition to see who speaks English the best. All 5 of the students placed in the top 3 spots! So congrats to them!!!

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