Friday Gratitude: An Open Love Letter to My Fellow Volunteers

Dear K3,

First, happy 6-month anniversary.

I don’t even know how to sum up the last six months. One of you asked me yesterday, “Was it fast or was it slow? I can’t tell. I’ll go by what you say,” and I couldn’t give an answer. Our time in Kosovo has seemed warped to me, speeding along at some points, while dragging at others.

I was on a bus last Monday, traveling home from my mini vacation in Albania. As the bus wound its way through the mountains back into Kosovo, I spent some time reflecting on my experiences here. It seemed strange that I was returning home, and that home meant Kosovo.  Before joining the Peace Corps, I led a fairly typical (boring) life. But then God/the universe/fate –however you chose to label that force — it said, “Here, you need Kosovo,” and dumped this experience into my lap.

And you, my fellow volunteers, you are one of the most beautiful parts of this experience. I am just one piece of this puzzle. You are the other pieces. On days when I hate being here (yes, they do happen), it is you who inspire me to continue. When I allow myself to imagine quitting, I must also consider how awful would feel to leave all of you … to be back in the United States, wondering how all of you are doing, no longer a part of our collective experience.

It gives me chills to think about our individual paths, and how those paths led us to Kosovo and to each other.

You are brilliant and funny, kind and warm. It is an honor and a priviledge to be counted among you. I feel an accountability to myself, to my friends and family back at home, to my community … but also, I feel a huge accountability to each and every one of you. I want to do well, so at the end of our service, I can feel like I earned the right to stand beside you.

Thank you for lifting me up in the moments I have been down, for sharing your own stories with me, for making me feel not alone. And please know, too, that I am here for you.


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