Sunday, March 17, 2013

5 Years Ago...

5 Years Ago....

  • I was in Philadelphia
  • I had left my family behind the day before for an unknown amount of time
  • I met an amazing group of 36 new people 
  • I spent the day learning about Peace Corps and Albania
  • I was excited, nervous, happy and unsure of what was to come
4 Years Ago....
  • I was in Albania
  • I had spent the past year learning a new language, culture, community, and friends
  • I danced, drank and sang the night away
  • I was happy, content and ambitious
3 Years Ago....
  • I was in Albania
  • I had decided to do another service with Peace Corps
  • I had just finished my COS conference with almost all the people that I had arrived in country with
  • My projects were finishing and I was starting to figure out what the last months of my service in Albania would be like
  • I had drinks with friends and more coffees than I can remember
  • I was sad yet happy, excited yet nervous, ambitious and looking forward to the next year
2 Years Ago....
  • I was in Morocco
  • I had just completed PPST with an amazing group of new people I had met 6 months before
  • I had a toothache
  • I was still learning a new language, culture, community and making new friends 
  • I still wasn't sure if people in my new community liked me
  • I was confused, nervous and content
1 Year Ago....
  • I was in Morocco
  • I knew my service was coming to a close and I would be coming home
  • I had been accepted into a Master's program at Alverno
  • I was trying to finish my projects and figure out what my last months would look like 
  • I had gained the respect and trust of my community
  • I had danced the night away and turned down more marriage proposals than I can remember
  • I spent the night with friends sitting in an inflatable pool on a roof drinking beer
  • I was happy, satisfied, anxious and nervous
  • I am in America
  • I still think about my time in PC every day
  • I am enjoying my Master's program
  • I enjoy time with my friends and family when I'm not working
  • I enjoy being able to drive, watch t.v., go to the mall, and go out past sunset
  • I still drink a lot of coffee, dance by myself and sing out loud in my apartment
  • I am happy and healthy
It's hard to believe that I left to begin my journey 5 years ago.  I can still clearly remember leaving my house and heading for the airport to join my staaj mates for Albania like it was yesterday.  Every minute of my experience in PC was a minute I would never change.  Not a day goes by where I don't think about my time overseas.  I hope that my journey with PC is not over and I look forward to joining again at some point in the future.  Maybe in 5 years?????

Thursday, March 14, 2013

Children and Their Most Prized Possessions

An amazing look at children around the world.  And even more amazing is that Massa made it on the list!  Check out these pictures.  Do you remember your favorite toys as a child?

Thursday, March 7, 2013

Follow My New Blog!

So here's the link to what I was talking about a few days ago.  It's a new blog that will be documenting my experience looking for a job.  The application process, interviews, advice, articles, the struggles etc...  It's a place for others like me who have had a difficult time finding a job that they are both qualified for and happy with.  It will be a place to get advice and share stories.  Check it out at the link below.

Lost Generation Looking to be Found

This doesn't mean that this blog is done.  Not even close!  This blog will continue to be a place for me to talk about my experience as a RPCV.  I still feel that most of my decisions and thinking processes are influenced by my time in the Peace Corps.  I think that I'll feel that way for the rest of my life.  So please keep checking this blog as well as I will update it frequently.  And so begins another journey....

Friday, March 1, 2013

AH-HA! The lightbulb just turned on

So I don't thInk it comes as a surprise to say I've had a tough readjustment period in America.  I am not happy with my current job and the past two months of job searching has been nothing but rejection after rejection. I've tried to stay positive but a girl can only take so much! This last rejection has been the hardest. I was so sure the job was mine. When I got the rejection email I broke down. I couldn't believe it. It was even more challenging to tell all my supporters that it didn't work out again.

Today I'm still down about it but then as I was reading my horoscope in the paper I felt better. I had an idea. How can I make all this rejection into something positive? I'm not alone out there. I know a lot of my peers have been struggling as well. I've read article after article about the job gap for Millennials. It's time to see how far it goes.

Later I will be posting a link to a new blog I will be starting based on my lightbulb idea this morning. I don't want to go into too much detail now but know that it will be interesting!! So thanks to all of you who have followed me on this journey and I hope you'll continue!

Thursday, February 28, 2013

Happy Peace Corps Week!

In honor of Peace Corps Week, I'm posting a few pictures of my favorite times in the Peace Corps.  I loved my time in Albania and Morocco and there isn't a day that goes by where something makes me think of my time over there.  Here's some of my favorites.....

Swearing in after completing PST in Albania

One week summer camp for children living in poverty in Albania
Events for the International Day of Roma Communities both years in Albania

My counterpart, Yllka, getting married before I left Albania

My favorite family in my final site in Albania

Swearing in after completing PST in Morocco

couscous to go from my host mom's association in my final site in Morocco

Special Olympics Morocco

GLOW camp for girls in the south of Morocco

Women's day event in my town in Morocco.  Finally being accepted by the women after a year and a half

Spring camp in Agadir with all my kids from my youth center

AIDS awareness campaign started by my kids and captured the attention of the Ministry of Youth and Sports in Morocco

COS'ing in Morocco.  After 4 1/2 years after leaving for Albania, I finished my first Peace Corps journey
I will never forget my times in Albania and Morocco.  These two experiences have changed me forever and I hope that I have the opportunity again to serve as a PCV.  I've served on two continents.... two more to go to reach my goal of serving on each continent where PC is present :)

Thursday, February 21, 2013

Readjustment at Six Months

It's hard to believe that I've been in America for over six months at this point.  It's hard to believe I'm still readjusting to life here.  I know I was naaive to think that I would come home and the perfect job would be waiting for me and I would apply and get it instantly.  Life in America is stressful.  I've been lucky for the most part.  I found a job within two months of being home.  I was able to get a new car, laptop, phone and apartment shortly after.  Now the honeymoon phase of being here is over and the real world is catching up to me.

I was excited when I took the job at the hotel.  I thought that it would be an easy transition back into life here.  I had done it before so why would it be different this time?  Turns out, it's a lot different.  I started being unhappy after about two months of working there.  It's not so much the job as much as the management and the cliental.  When I started telling people about how I had to force myself to get to work every day, they told me, "think about the money".  Well I'm not used to having to think about the money to go to work.

Going from working for people who have nothing and ask for nothing to people who have everything and want more was a terrible transition for me.  A lot of times I have to bite my tongue and remember that I am in America where customer service means, what a customer wants, a customer gets.  I'm also not used to working with people who care so little about their jobs and so much about how much money they're making.  It's been rough but I think my luck is about to change.

Tomorrow is going to be a good day.  Tomorrow is going to be MY day.  All that positive karma I've been building up over the years is going to pay off.  Positive thoughts people.  Keep your fingers crossed and hopefully I'll have some excellent news to share soon :)

Sunday, September 30, 2012

So the Journey Continues... in America.

I made it through the last few days of my PC service and arrived safely home.  For the past two months, I've been trying to catch up with friends and family, eat all sorts of delicious food, learn about American culture and get my life in order.  It's not always easy.  Somedays I really miss PC and my life overseas. Other days I'm overwhelmed by America and astounded by how easy life is here.  Here's just a few of the adjustments I've been going through over the past two months:

-Speaking English all the time....  no random Darija or Albanian because people look at like I'm crazy when I throw out a 'zwin', 'mskin', 'bzaf', 'mire', 's'ka gja' or 'ckemi'.
-Being on time, or early.  My days of getting there when I get there are over.
-Not haggling over prices.  Apparently most people want the price that is listed.  Darn.
-Separating my trash.  Hurray for recycling!
-Paying for gas.  No more grand taxis, buses or furgons for this girl.
-Laundry only takes about an hour to finish.  No more sore hands after laundry or doing laundry around the weather.  Laundry is now a piece of cake.
-FOOD!  There are so many different varieties of food everywhere.  I can get whatever I want, usually whenever I want and in most cases delivered direct to me.  Something America always does right.
-Household chores.  Dishes are also a piece of cake now thanks to the dish washer.  Dusting is required less often now that I don't live in a land of dust and sand.
-Less animals inside.  No more bug killing sprees and no surprise bugs crawling out of my shoes, bed, books, bathroom or sink.  Fabulous.
-Internet is super fast.  No more waiting a full day for a 3 minute YouTube clip to download.
-Phone service is almost always available.  Can't use that excuse anymore when someone I don't want to have my number does and constantly calls.
-Guys have boundaries.  It's no longer a world of 'Hey!  I just met you, and this is crazy, but here's my number, so call me maybe".  Thank goodness!  There are decent men out there ladies!!
-Stranger Danger.  And not just with children.  Apparently not every person I walk by wants to talk to me.  Fine, be like that.
-Prices.  Did you know that a can of soda in America is almost always at least a dollar?  And clothes are usually more than a dollar.  And rent is more than a hundred dollars??  Talk about sticker shock.
-Driving.  It feels so good to drive again but apparently there are rules about how we should drive and you can't just drive wherever you want or however fast you would like.
-Technology.  Yes I've upgraded to a Mac Air and an iphone since being home but I still don't understand them very well.  I'm learning though.
-Marital Status.  It's so nice to not be judged anymore when I tell people I'm 25 and not married and I don't have kids yet.  I tell people that here and they tell me, "You're young!  You have plenty of time."  Thank goodness.
-Media.  News is kinda sad.  And politicians play dirty.  But at least you can find out both sides if you want to.
-Downloading.  Note to self: no more downloading!!  Wait for it to come on Netflix or watch it on tv when it airs.
-Life after the sun goes down.  Not everything closes when the sun sets.  Quite a bit of activity starts with the sunset.  The nights still young at 10 pm!
-Clothes.  So many pretty clothes.  So many skanky clothes.  So much skin to show.  So little time.
-Work.  My job is now 9-5.  Who came up with these hours and when's nap time???!!!

It's been an interesting few months.  I have many awkward moments.  I've laughed at myself to many times to count and I've been laughed at just as much.  I've accidentally started speaking in Darija and Albanian several times.  I've tried to haggle down prices without success.  Small children have had to show me how to operate my phone and other technology.  Every minute of it has been a blast.  I miss my life with PC but I'm slowly starting to re-build my life here.  It's not always easy but I end up spending most of my days laughing so I count that as success.

Stamping out of PC Morocco!

To my fellow PCV's who are about to come home; don't worry, don't stress out and have fun!  Enjoy your remaining time in your communities and try to say good-bye to as many people as you can.  Don't worry about packing.  If you leave it there, you can buy it in America!  It's not going to be a walk in the park to feel normal again once you get here, but you're going to have so many great stories to tell.  People will be interested in what you have experienced but don't be surprised if they get sick of hearing "This one time in Morocco....".  So, take pictures, drink some mint tea and dance your heart out.  Leaving country doesn't mean you're done being a PCV.  Once you're a PCV, you're a PCV for life.

RPCV Morocco 2010 - 2012

RPCV Albania 2008 - 2010