Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Here Comes September Folks...

Sometimes all it takes is one person to make an effort, to change your attitude. Recently I have been struggling on different levels – missing home, attempting to apply to graduate school from Panama with no Internet access, trying to balance my duties as a part of Peace Corps and being a community member. Trying to remain positive and motivated, always having a smile on my face has recently caught up with this Volunteer. The best way to describe it, I feel defeated, deflated. Basically I am an old flat tire tossed in a ditch on the side of the Interstate! Man oh man these people weren’t kidding about the difficulty of the job when I was applying. As volunteers we often refer to our service as a rollercoaster. One day you are up and just as easily the next you feel like the algae on the bottom of your water bucket.
August was a tough month and the fall is looking just as rough, therefore I am taking some of my own advice. I am going to write about how I am feeling and I am going to list the bad and the great parts of my life right now…

It has taken me a long time to truly understand my community, more specifically my role as the American or gringa here. As a Volunteer I have work that is expected of me in my community as well as on an office level. Add this to attempting to apply to graduate school, juggling vacation and visits from friends and family, trying to see my boyfriend, needless to say I don’t feel capable of catching up. Nor do I feel that it is possible to be great at all of these things. Mainly because it is not possible for me to be everything to everyone and I hate it. The multi-tasking, perfectionist in me somehow believes I am completely capable of doing it all perfectly well because I keep taking on more commitments! My main issue is the fact that I only have nine months left to do all the things I want to do in my community AND to see all the parts of Panama I have yet to visit. Who can I borrow some time from?!
It is a weird feeling, the growth I feel. It is as if I grew from baby to adult in less than two years and no longer fit into anything I own. At the same time I am not quite ready to get rid of my belongings. I just recently fell into the complete swing of things and already I am on the next chapter, already I have to start figuring out what my life will look like next.
My frustrations:
-I feel like I have spent so much time explaining what my job is that I never really got to start my job until now.
-My Spanish is ok. Definitely not where I had the benchmark set for myself.
-I am working with Middle School students and can honestly say I have never experienced such a lack of motivation, EVER.
-I am exhausted as an English teacher. I am beginning to resent my first language. Seriously, that is not cool.
-We have not had running water for over a month now. Gross.

Looking at the Bright Side:
-I started an awesome leadership development group for girls in my middle school and it is going smashingly.
-Today a student came to my house because he wants to participate in the English Contest in David in September. He left my house and I heard him reading the poem in English out loud on his walk home.  It is difficult to put it into words but that boy brought me back to the basics today. His enthusiasm, his willingness, his sincerity are all reasons I am doing what it is I do.
-If I do get accepted to any of the graduate programs I am applying to I will be given the opportunity to continue development work from a whole new level.
-I have been able to have visitors come visit me, and that would have been very different in the Republic of Georgia.
-No matter how good or bad my Spanish may be, I speak Spanish now. WOOHOO. Right?
-Money never has and never will determine who I am or what I become. Let’s be honest all I have ever really known is being broke. I would just be awkward if I had a plethora of money.
-There is an awesome breeze right now and my kitten is sleeping on my lap.

Well, as you can see the good clearly out weighs the bad. But is that not normally the case? My life is so different here and I love it. I miss home quite a bit but will be there soon enough! Suppose I’ll just keep on truckin’… gotta keep yo head up Bubba.

Okay, time to study for the GRE like yesterday! Peace Out Homies.


Timothy said...

i live you gretch, keep your head up homie

Timothy said...


M. Walsh said...

i thoroughly enjoyed this post and i feel you g. just focus on all the good times that are waiting to be had in this country. lets make them happen. PARTY!