The past two weeks I have been flooded with all different kinds of emotions but one in particular has repetitively stood out: the feeling of gratitude. Twelve weeks of training have gone by and while at times it has been slow and hard, in general training seems to have flown by. Today I will be sworn in as an official Peace Corps Volunteer at the US Ambassador’s house in San Jose.
Its hard to believe that 12 weeks ago I arrived in Washington DC not knowing a single sole. Now here I am with 31 people who I will always, no matter what, share a bond and unique connection with that is like no other. There are several people in particular who I know will always be a huge part of my life. In twelve weeks I have made friendships that might normally take years. That is part of the beauty of the Peace Corps, not only does it choose the best of the best but it puts you in a situation where friendships grow quickly and strongly. I can’t help but feel grateful for each individual in Tico 26 and few in particular who I am really going to miss seeing on a daily basis.
I am also very grateful for my host family here in San Miguel, they not only opened up their home to me, but made me a part of their family. Living in someone else home, with someone else rules, eating someone else food, in a culture very different than your own makes it difficult to not feel like a guest. I can honestly say that I have a second family here and a home where I feel comfortable being myself. I am REALLY going to miss my little siblings. They have shown me so much love and patience. Most importantly they have made me laugh everyday which is so important for my happiness.
Last week something happened that truly made all of us here feel vulnerable and consider once again our decision and purpose as volunteers. You leave for your Peace Corps service thinking that all those you love will still be there when you get back to the US. Unfortunately, we were reminded that this might not be the case. Death of a loved one is difficult no matter where you are in the world and for this reason, I remind all of you to take time to be grateful for those in your life and to let them know how much they mean to you.
I feel extremely grateful for where I am right now at this point of my life. I feel confident in my decision to join the Peace Corps and I feel really genuinely happy here. I used to love road trips particularly because of all the thinking I got to do on them. Since I am not allowed to drive here, long bus rides are now my favorite time to do my thinking. It is on these bus rides that I become so overwhelmed with happiness and gratitude for where I am at this moment. I cannot describe the feeling exactly but I hope every person gets to experience that feeling on a consistent basis throughout their life.
Today I take an oath very similar to the oath that the President of the United States takes when (s)he is sworn into office. When President Obama came to Costa Rica in May, he spoke to Peace Corps Volunteers and US Diplomats here saying that we are more important than he is in this country. We are the personal connection that Costa Ricans have with the United States. We carry out the day to day work to built the capacity of people within this country. We promote friendships and cross-cultural understanding that allows for peace to flourish. Today I take an important oath and one in which I am proud of and very grateful for the opportunity to take.
Tomorrow I leave for my new community where I will be living the next two years. After my visit two weeks ago, I feel like it is the perfect fit for me and that I will be very happy there!