Well, the time has finally come. My two years in the Peace Corps is up and I will soon be returning to the USA. There are moments when I have felt that time flew by, and I think for many of you back home reading this may agree that it did not feel like two years at all, but trust me when I say, time moves much slower in Cambodia and it definitely felt like two years most of the time (if not longer haha). People have begun to ask me what my experience was like or if I could go back in time would I do it all again, and honestly, I don’t know. I think I will need some time once I get home to really reflect on the past two years as a whole, because being here, I’m still living it, it still surrounds me. What I do know is that I have learned a lot about myself and a lot about Cambodian culture that I would never have known otherwise. One of the main characteristics I have learned about myself has been that while these two years were a wonderful break from the fast-paced, demanding society of America, my personality craves being busy and having more direction. Even though I’m sure I will want to pull my hair out at times, I am really looking forward to getting back to the hectic schedules and booked weekends. I’m sure those of you who work 9-5pm are wanting to punch me in the face right now…
However, some of my recent thoughts during this last week have been mostly about the relationships I have made here in Cambodia. While I have still been going to the health center in the mornings, my afternoons are filled with stopping by various houses to sit and talk with my friends and say my last goodbyes. Saying goodbye in Cambodia is one of the strangest, most awkward things in the world. For starters, I really don’t have the vocabulary to truly express how grateful I am for all of the love and support these people have shown me. I just keep saying thank you very much and goodbye/take care over and over again to try to stress my point. It is also a very difficult goodbye because I don’t know if I have ever had to say goodbye to someone I know there is a good chance I will never see or meet again. After college, saying goodbye to my friends was hard because I knew I was going to live in Cambodia for two years, but I knew we would be reunited one day. While I do eventually want to come back and visit Cambodia as soon as I can, there is a chance I may never get to see some of the random people in my village or my host aunts or grandparents who are a bit older. I just hope that I can leave here on the best note possible and leave my host friends and families with smiles as I know they have made me smile every day.
Another fact that I just cannot get over is that I’m actually done. I dreamt and planned for the Peace Corps for years and it was always such a monumental goal in my future. But now it has already come and gone. While I am so excited for the next chapter of my life, I will never forget this experience and can say (not too boastfully) that I am really proud of myself and of my fellow PCVs. Serving in the Peace Corps was by far the hardest thing I have ever done (we’ll chat again if I ever have children). There are great rewards, but it does not come without a price. It came with sweat, tears, frustration, boredom, and of course the many laughs and good times too. I honestly could not have made it through this experience without the prayers and support from my friends and family both at home and serving with me here. Please know that I am forever grateful to you all and cannot wait to be reunited soon!
Here are the K6’s that completed their 2-year service. My family here. I don’t know what I would have done without them.
And here are all of the cards/drawings/notes/etc. that I have received since becoming a PCV. THANK YOU to everyone who took the time to write or send packages. It definitely helped get me through the toughest of times!