Commitment has been on my mind this week. As I was going through the process of being accepted into the Peace Corps, I knew I would need to learn to love Kosovo. I began to tell myself how much I loved Kosovo before I ever set foot on the ground here.
Before I moved here, a few well-meaning people reminded me that if I didn’t like the Peace Corps, I could always quit. (Which is true. I can quit at any time.) But while I understood where they were coming from, I also knew I didn’t want to begin my commitment thinking that way. It would be like entering a marriage with the thought of getting divorced — probably not a good idea.
In the months leading up to my departure, I thought about Kosovo so much I felt like Kosovo was leaking out of my ears. My training group is only the third that has ever been placed in Kosovo. We also happen to be the first group in Peace Corps history to receive all of our training in our host country. And I am so thankful it worked out that way. When I arrived in D.C. for pre-departure, I was antsy to leave. I felt many emotions leaving the United States (hope, fear, excitement, restlessness, irritability, stress, uncertainty), but my predominant feeling was one of READINESS.
I stumbled across this blog post a few months back, and it eloquently discusses choosing love and commitment. It was written by Katie Davis, a Christian missionary in Uganda. Although her blog (and book) have a religious overtone, I think even those who aren’t religious or Christian might find ideas that resonate with them. (I’m a fan of most anyone who leads an interesting life.) Katie Davis moved to Uganda at age nineteen and has lived there ever since, adopting fourteen daughters along the way. And although the blog post I linked to specifically addresses adoptive mothers, I like what she has to say about love, how, “the action of love precedes the actual feeling.”
For me, I am attempting to apply this idea to a country and groups of people I am only just beginning to know.