I made the decision on Sunday, September 20, 2009, thought about it on Monday and worked up the courage to tell our training manager Linda on Tuesday morning after our regular assembly of announcements and song. After almost six weeks of Peace Corps training, I’m coming home. Sometimes things don’t work out the way you thought they would and if anything has taught me that that’s OK, this experience has. I have been applying, packing and talking about the Peace Corps since June 2008 and couldn’t wait to leave back in August. I was hardly nervous and never ambivalent about my decision to leave the comforts of home and give Peace Corps my all. Maybe because there was so much unknown ahead of me that I didn’t have much to be unsure about was what made it a little easier. So for the first time in my life, I put my faith in the “unknown” and it led me across the pond to begin training as a Peace Corps Volunteer.
I won’t recreate my time during the training as it’s mostly all chronicled in this blog and emails to friends and family; but I will say that no matter how prepared you might think you are, or how much you have read about the PC experience – NOTHING prepares you, nothing can. The constant emotional roller coaster that I personally experienced during my time in Namibia with very little sleep was too much for me to bear. My “highs” were extremely high and my “lows” were very low and going from one to another was exhausting both physically and mentally. So, after careful consideration and a variety of culminating circumstances during my time here I made the decision to officially resign from my Peace Corps training and return to the good ole’ USA. I’m surprisingly very comfortable with my decision which means I made the right one. Before I left on this journey I didn’t think my pride would allow me to quit – but having been here for a little while I realize that I’m not quitting. I tried something new and it didn’t work out – but the main point is I TRIED. I’m just proud of myself for trying because thousands of people never even get this far.
I spent the last four days in Windhoek undergoing a thorough medical evaluation to ensure I was healthy enough to reenter the states. I had my teeth cleaned at the dentist, three vials of blood drawn for various tests, two exit interviews and a physical at a local doctor’s office where my doctor was dressed in complete safari gear. I was finally cleared to leave on Friday, flew out of Windhoek at 9pm last night and nine hours later I’m on a layover in Frankfurt, Germany. In about an hour I will board another nine hour flight to Atlanta and then back to the Bluegrass. I have mixed emotions about returning home, but in the end I know it’s the right decision.
Thank you so much to everyone who supported me during this crazy journey. I certainly couldn’t have done it without you. To those of you who posted comments on the blog, sent me emails, wrote me letters, mailed me packages, called or texted – words can’t describe how much it meant to me.
Finally, a parting note to my fellow trainees in Peace Corps Group 30 (aka The Dirty Thirty):
Thank you so much. People on the outside might wonder how you can possibly make such great friends in such a short amount of time, but as we all know it’s absolutely possible. Having worked in campaigns for several years I’ve always said that you make the best of friends while working in the trenches and I’ve found this applies to Peace Corps as well. Good luck Group 30! I know each and every one of you will make a wonderful impact on the communities you will begin serving in October. I’ll be thinking about you all on October 16th as you swear in as official PCVs. Just remember that no matter what situation you are faced with - keep your heads up, smiles on, and exude confidence even when you’re unsure. I can’t wait to follow your blogs and send you mail! Thank you again for your friendship, shoulders to cry on and the ever present venting sessions while walking to Spar. Enjoy the rest of your time in Namibia and may you all be safe and healthy during the next two years. Best of luck!