I don’t even know where to begin when I attempt to quantify and explain what the past few weeks have been like for me. I had heard coming into this experience that PST (pre-service training) is the most grueling part of one’s service, but I thought “meh, surely it can’t be all that bad.” Well, once again, I should have listened. The sheer amount of information that is being pumped into our heads on a daily basis on top of the community integration and cohort relationship strengthening we are expected to do is just plain overwhelming. As a matter of fact, if there was a word that could convey more intensity than “overwhelming”, that would be the word I would utilize. I mean, come on, I survived (and thrived) in Kraska’s 800 class in grad school, which is designed to break down bright-eyed bushy-tailed graduate students to see exactly what they’re made of. And yet, this…this is a whole different story.
Let me preface this “rant” by saying that I am 100% enjoying my time here and would not rather be any place else at this point in my life. I feel like this is where I am supposed to be right now on my life journey and I am taking the turns in the road as they come. However, I am freaking exhausted. Constantly. We go from 8:30am-5:30pm all week and from 8:30am-1:00pm on Saturdays. Our days are split between language class (8:30-12:30) and our technical sessions (1:30-5:30) where they teach us Peace Corps tricks of the trade in becoming effective English partner teachers here in the Republic of Moldova. I enjoy my training because I recognize the necessity of it, but that doesn’t help ease the exhaustion that overwhelms me constantly…especially when it hits about 2:30-3:00 in the afternoon and it’s blazing hot and everyone in my cohort is literally melting because #NoAirConditioning. With that being said, I am extremely grateful to all of my teachers and instructors because I know that it can’t be any ore enjoyable for them than it is for us. I am honestly in awe of my language teacher…she has to have the patience of a saint to put up with me still pronouncing the “i”‘s on the end of words that I know better than to pronounce.
However, in the midst of all this craziness, I have been blessed with amazing individuals to share this journey with. The other 16 people in the English Education program with me are individually unique and often leave me in awe with the lives they have led and the things they have accomplished. For instance, today when I was suffering through tech sessions with a grueling migraine, I had no less than 6 people offer me headache medicine, offer to switch me spots so I was nearer the window/breeze, or just express a genuine concern for my well-being. I was extremely thankful for their concern even if I wasn’t able to verbalize it at the time. I would be remiss to not talk about those who are not English Education volunteers that also bless my life here in Moldova. This past week has been hard for me for a variety of reasons and, even after knowing me for only 3 weeks, other volunteers who I am not around every day were able to pick me up and shake me out of my funk. Even when I was wandering around, looking much like a lost puppy, some of my fantabulous guy friends rallied around me and made me feel not quite so lost. I don’t know if they realize how much they’ve helped me just with their sarcastic comments, inappropriate jokes, and jovial conversation so, if they’re reading this (you know who you are), thank you so so much.
Oftentimes in life when we are faced with overwhelming stress or rough patches, we forget to look around us and cherish what amazing things and people we have been blessed with. We develop such intense tunnel vision concerning small, insignificant events, that we let what really matters fall by the wayside. Every time I feel downtrodden or exhausted to the core and I’m not sure how much longer I can last, I look around to the support system I have in Moldova and remember the support system I have back home in the States and, suddenly, life isn’t quite so hard. It’s tough being away from my family, friends, and the life that I’ve led for the past 25 years, but my “government-issued family” is making the transition a hell of a lot easier. Thanks guys.