Today, I expected to write a post about the trip our group took to a castle that’s being renovated (they had soil from the castle tested and it dated back to 1250 A.D.). But you know, that’s not really on my mind as I sit down to type (actually, I am lying in bed, listening to music saved on my external hard drive, and fighting a headache).
I am thinking about the stories we shared this morning at our pre-field-trip training session. Several of my fellow trainees mentioned that members of their host families gave up their bedrooms, and are sleeping on couches, in order to accommodate our group. (A Peace Corps requirement for host families is that they provide us with our own bedrooms, with doors that lock.) Our Country Director was at the meeting and shared a similar story of living with a host family. She asked us to consider what it means to know that someone gave something up for us.
It’s one thing when a friend or family member helps me out. That’s what they are there for. Having people to call upon in times of trouble is one of the reasons humans cultivate relationships. But here are people I don’t know — people living halfway around the world, who don’t share my culture or language (people who also practice a religion that’s not widely understood in the United States) — and they are making sacrifices so that I can have a comfortable experience in their country.
I’d also like to say how awesome my fellow volunteer trainees are. In 2012, I traveled to Beijing with the Ugliest Group of Americans That You Ever Did See (worse, these were social work graduate school classmates of mine). I wanted to throttle every one of them by the end of the trip because I was so tired of their whining and complaining. But, my experience in the Peace Corps has been completely different. My peers are gracious and happy to be in Kosovo. Being surrounded by positive people really does make a difference.
Also, I grateful for my favorite scented candle, a departing present from my friend Anna. This Chicago girl isn’t used to farm animal smells yet. 🙂
Last, thanks to all of you!!! Your words of support and encouragement have meant the world to me. (Here’s a special shoutout to everyone at my sister’s school! Thanks for following along.)
[P.S. Just a little clarification about yesterday’s post. I only think, like, 90 percent of men are boring. That wasn’t a barbed comment toward any of the men in my life. (And I certainly didn’t mean you, Leonard.). :-P]