Tuesday, October 5, 2010

An interview with Returned Peace Corps Volunteer Paulette

So, you’re still writing on this blog, huh?

Wasn’t your service over in, like, August?

Isn’t that a little, I don’t know, pathetic?
I just moved in with my mother and I’m unemployed. This is the least of my worries.

But you’re not really ready to let it go, are you?
No, but I’m working on it.

Do you feel the need to write some grand, summing-it-all-up masterpiece blog entry?

Do you think that’s possible?
I guess not.

Was the Peace Corps wonderful?

Was the Peace Corps terrible?
Yes, at times.

Well, there you go.

I know, it’s just, I have something to say to the people who are thinking about joining.

Go on.
I just wish I could explain how much of a DO IT! I would give them. Someone called the Peace Corps a "cool job" the other day, and it sounded like such a silly, empty word for it. It’s this entrance into another world, from which there is no return. The difference between doing it and not doing it... It’s... It’s... Had I not gone, it would have been the worst mistake of my life, and I never would have even known it. I was so, so scared to go. Immense amounts of Googling was done, trying to predict the future of how it would be. Peace Corps teaches you to let go. The world is wild and you just have to let it be that way. I’m still neurotic as hell, but I’m not the same person I was.

Is that all?
I still want to thank everyone so much. So many people talked me through it. So many people bought extension cords for their love that reached me all the way in Paraguay. So many people bought my favorite candies for $2 and spent $15 to ship it to me. So much complaining was distributed to so many patient ears via the crackling connection of Skype. I never felt forgotten in my impossible quest to have the best of both worlds -- roots and wings.
Thank you everyone.
And thank you especially to my mother, my amazing amazing mother. If my service were a book, the dedication would be to her. Love you, roomie!

Feel better now?

Will you have more to add later?
Maybe, even at the risk of being pathetic. I’ll move on soon, I swear.

Sunday, October 3, 2010

Integration tool

Attention anyone going to the Peace Corps who owns a Mac.

One of the best tools you have for integration is the Photo Booth program, with all of its fun effects. Over the two years, it's helped break down barriers with adults and kids alike. Best of all, you don't have to speak the language. Here are some of my favorites.

From my first host family:

To friends along the way:

To my very last visit with my host family:

And sometimes, the picture is just right as it is: