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Like Sands Through the Hourglass…

de (22-5-2011)

No one really knows where time goes, especially those of us who live somewhere in between our US lives and our Peace Corps lives abroad.  Ask anyone who’s been there and they’ll tell you they don’t know how two plus years just seem like a fleeting moment.  Day by day and week to week, the months seem to rush past like a calendar in the breeze.  As seasons come and go, and milestones and markers are noted, each and every volunteer has created for themselves their own personal Peace Corps journal.

After these two years of service, it’s hard to tell what all the changes are, unless it’s you.  The subtleties in the way in which we think about our own country now and how we feel about our service and the people whom we’ve met, are all so very imbedded. Yet somehow, the obvious changes reveal a portion of that.  From the way we wear our hair, to how we speak and dress, to the ways in which we choose to spend our free time, well, it’s noticeable and it’s just as important to our being who we will be post-Peace Corps.

The one question asked of us over and over, by both host country nationals here and US citizens there is, “Why did you leave America?”  It’s hard to explain that.  The initial answer is some combination of altruism, cultural thirst, and a desire for exploration of knowledge, along with building upon what others have achieved.  These are all great answers, certainly, but none which truly satisfy the end result of what is accomplished through this unique opportunity to become a Peace Corps veteran.

And so, it always comes down to the calendar and going back through to reminisce and rejoice, reflect and remember the tangible things which have occurred in order to record that time which passed us by so quickly.

In preparation for my own Romania Peace Corps group’s departure this year (we are the 26th group and now share our service with groups 27 and 28) we created a timeline of our own beginning with training in Targoviste from May 2009 through to the present day at our Close of Service meeting in Sinaia.  Not one of our experiences would ever be the same of course, although the similarities were there.  Our wonder at new things, the love of traditions, interest in different foods, difficulty in learning a new language, times of loneliness, frustration, pure laughter and most of all the very personal growth within our souls which could only happen because we were privileged to be a Peace Corps volunteer.

Here are some of the moments as we recorded them along a piece of paper for an impromptu timeline at our last conference together:  the paper, temporary in itself, but oh-so-everlasting in the impressions written upon it because they made upon each of us and upon each of the people who’ve been a part of our days here an indelible mark.

From start to finish…“These Were the Days of Our Lives.”


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