Search This Blog

Monday, April 14, 2014

New Start

       I remember having long conversations with returned volunteers about what it would be like to come home. The transition back to the states is harder than leaving is what we're told they day we arrive in country. In fact, one of the first things we were told by the staff was that you cry twice when you come to Paraguay, once when you say goodbye to your family in the states, and once when you leave Paraguay at the end of service. While I didn't cry in either situation both instances were extremely emotional. As I sit here now, having accepted a job in Washington DC,  on the precipice of starting a new experience after only having been home for three months, my Peace Corps service feels sort of like a dream.
       I never thought I would get a job as quickly as I did. Luck probably had more to do with it than anything. The process of getting a job in the states is a lot of hurry up and wait. You apply for a ton of positions online in a rush of inspiration and then wait for weeks on end in the hopes that you get to the next step or even receiving the courtesy of a rejection email. Then its rushing again once you finally hear something, but cannot remember what the job is because you applied so long ago. Making travel arrangements, figuring out logistics, and doing your best to present yourself in a way that makes you a hirable candidate. Then nothing again as you sit and wait to hear back. That process takes weeks, and you go back to your routine until you suddenly get a call back asking if you can start the next week as you try to figure out a way to uproot your life, review the employment offer, and attempt to figure out how in the hell you are going to get to the job on the first day. I need a place to live, I have no furniture, I don't have a clue how to move around in the city and the list goes on
       The crazy thing is that is normal. Most people I talk to can relate to that situation, so my feelings about how hectic and unnatural it all seems are muted a bit. The thing I keep coming back to however is that figuring out those types of challenges is what I did in Paraguay, but instead of analyzing a health benefits package or filling out an I-9 form I had to hand wash my clothing or rewire my electricity. The ability to adapt to new situations that I got used to in Paraguay is sort of the same as I open this new chapter of my life. What makes it different is not being familiar with it. In Paraguay I made sure that I took things in stride and dealt with problems as they came up. Day-by-day, managing expectations, and asking questions are simple ways to live, but are so applicable in a multiplicity of contexts whether that is in Paraguay or in the states. 
       I'd by lying if I said being back in America has been easy. Transitions are always tough especially when you account for the stark differences between the United States and Paraguay. Those differences are overwhelming and they take time to figure out. I know that I will eventually get more comfortable in my new surroundings in DC, but life never really slows down and the second you think you got everything under control is the second that something throws you for a loop. 

No comments:

Post a Comment