With warm hugs, sad goodbyes, swollen eyes, and some pixie dust (it’s Cookie Butter from Trader Joe’s), I said goodbye to Washington (my home) to depart for Indonesia (soon-to-be-home) to live there for the next 2 years of my life. Saying goodbye was/is never easy.
Seeing my mom swollen eyes from crying the night before I left, hearing her shaky voice every time she would talk to me, and the fear of the unknown for her son ALMOST made not want to go continue in this new journey. Although my mom was never really happy with my decision to join Peace Corps, I know that she’s very proud of me. I know that she admires my courage and bravery for doing something that many would not do. I know that in time she will support my decision for such move.
When I arrived in Los Angeles for our staging–a day when all of the volunteers get to meet each other and learn about expectations, missions, and goals–I kept thinking to myself “This is it Geo. Once you signed the papers, there’s no more turning back.” Then I saw the eagerness in the eyes and excitement from the voices of my fellow volunteers. That moment made me realize that this is exactly what I want. To be part of something bigger than myself. To give myself wholly with no expectations of returns.
During our staging, we talked about our anxiety coming to this trip. Some of the anxiety I had is being homesick, missing big events back home, having little to no access to internet, and bugs. But the biggest anxiety I have is the a part of my identity that I must now hide for safety reasons. I took me quite some time to get comfortable with who I am. It took a village to make me feel comfortable to be who I am. That it is okay to be who I am. Now, coming into a new land, new community, and new family, I have to put back the walls I’ve spent years breaking down.
Although I have all of these anxieties, I have much more aspirations as to why I am doing this trip. Some of these aspirations includes getting to travel, experiencing and living a different culture than what is my norm, sharing my skills, learning new language, working with students again, having this experience on my resume, loan deferment, having this on my application for graduate school application, making new friends and family, and the list goes on and on. But like what Queen Bey said, “my aspiration in life is to be happy.” TO BE HAPPY is the biggest aspiration I have and overweights all of the anxieties I have coming to this trip. In the end of this whole adventure, I will ask myself “Are you happy with yourself?” And just like Queen Beyonce, I would say “Yeeehhs.”
I know that if I didn’t go to this trip that I will forever regret it. Being with other volunteers who shares the same missions as I am already makes me happy. Leaving the familiar and welcoming the unfamiliar has to be the bravest thing I could do, and I am glad that I’m almost there! With lots of faith and some Trader Joe’s Cookie Butter (sorry, I just can’t shut up about this butter…) I am one step to becoming a better and happy person.
*This was written on March 10th 2017*