Peace Corps Round Two?

Cameroon, a small nation founded in 1960. It is, like many African nations, the culmination and remnants of English and French colonialism and African culture. The nation, representing a land mass slightly larger than the size of California and hosting a population of 24 million people, may soon have one more American inhabitant. Thinking about the Peace Corps journey for a second time is intimidating. A small piece of me feels like the little girl who  cried Peace Corps. This time last year I joyously boasted that I would be moving to Togo. This time around, I am reminded that life has a funny way of swatting your plans down. Shortly after arriving home from my internship in Costa Rica, I learned the sad fact that I would not be medically cleared to leave for Togo on my June 4th departure date. I will not sugar coat things, that moment was hard. For months I had told anyone with an open ear of my great plans to join Peace Corps, move to Togo, and save my corner of the world. Never did I think I would have to explain to everyone that I would not go. I didn’t think that I’d end up panicking for job security and take a position at a sales company in Charlotte. I didn’t think I’d end up so miserable at my job in Charlotte, that I would go back to get the Masters Degree I said I would never go back to get. I find myself doing and saying a lot of the things I said I would never do. But now, as it seems, I may very well live out my Peace Corps dreams. The very allergies that hindered my clearance last time have finally been proved false, whether I outgrew them or never had a true allergy, I will never know. This time I have no foreseeable obstacles, but I must, once again, get my mind into Peace Corps mode. I think of the months I have left at home with my friends and family, and I will admit, it is bittersweet. I love my life in the United States; I truly do. I have the most amazing friends and family that any person could ask for, a warm bed to sleep in, the privilege of higher education, and all the tools to forge an idealistic “American Dream” life. But I am trading all of this to move to a country I have never visited, with people I have never met, to do work that, quite frankly, I have no idea how to do, all in a language I do not understand. And to be completely honest, when I just typed that sentence, I questioned if I really am a rational human. But I cannot ignore one thing. I have this passion inside of me, or maybe call it the little voice in the back of my head, but it persistently and undeniably says, “go”. So that’s the plan, ya know, unless life decides that curve balls are cool again. I’m excited for these 27 months. I know by watching my PC Togo group that the journey is hard but worth it. I’m terrified but I cannot wait to take off on this new journey. I welcome all of the language barriers to work through, the growing pains of moving to the third world, and the certain personal growth to come. Here’s to Peace Corps Round 2!

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