Ever since I was accepted to serve as a Peace Corps Volunteer, the first question I have received from people is “Why?” Well, besides the obvious fact that service has always been a big part of my life, there was one specific inciting incident (or, rather, person) that led me to Peace Corps’ door. If you know me well, it might surprise you to know that this person is a boy. I have never been one to make decisions based on a boy, but this situation was different and I can’t regret the path I have traveled because of this person. In order to understand my reasoning, I’ll give you a condensed version of the story.
Once upon a time…there was a girl who was introduced to a boy while she was drinking margaritas at the local Mexican restaurant with her best friend. The girl and boy hit it off and dated for a few months. However, after the girl came home from a 2 week trip to Finland, the boy TEXTED her to end things because he thought “they were just better as friends”. Needless to say, the girl was blindsided and devastated. This, in addition to other information that came to light, caused the girl to want to get away from her hometown (and this boy) as quickly as possible. Serving in the Peace Corps had always been an idea in the back of the girl’s mind, but the timing was never quite right.
After some soul searching, the girl discovered that she had lost a significant amount of who she was while she was involved with the boy and she found herself becoming sick of the person she was becoming. At this point, the girl was reminded of a quote from her main man, Gandhi: “The best way to find yourself is to lose yourself in the service of others.” Maybe, just maybe Peace Corps was going to be the answer to help the girl find her way again.
Fast forward 16 months and the girl is sitting in her hotel room in Philadelphia preparing to leave for her next big adventure to Moldova. Her and the boy (hilariously enough) have become best friends and the reality of ending their friendship is much harder than she had planned for it to be. She has come to care very much for the boy as he does for her and, despite his many shortcomings, has been a support system for her and she cannot be more thankful for his friendship. While it is easy to be mad at him for all the nonsense he put her through, she finds herself being grateful to him and the situation that has led her to this point in her life. Without his propensity for being a dumbass 20-something boy, the girl would not be embarking upon the biggest adventure of her life. She would not be committing the next 2 years of her life in service to those who need it most. She would not be making ripples of change in Moldova by teaching English to high school students. She would not be finding the woman that God has intended her to be.
So, there’s my story. While my Peace Corps service has come to mean much more than how it started, I cannot ignore the events that have led me to where I am. After all, in order to have a future, we have to understand our past. I never thought that I’d be the girl who allowed a boy to “change her life”, but I guess that’s what happened anyway (though maybe not in the most conventional way).
Oh, and to the boy, thank you. For everything.