Thursday, February 7, 2013

Note to Self

“When you were trainees, two years ago, we asked you to write a letter to yourselves that you would open at your Close of Service Conference.”

Wait, really?

Apparently, yes.  Almost no one remembered this exercise!  Someone’s letter said, “Souvenirs are for people that have bad memories.”  I guess we all needed that souvenir.

As I was handed my envelope, I was convinced my letter would be short and sweet, if it even existed at all.  Imagine my surprise when I opened a two-page letter, front and back.  I should have known better- I’m sure you’ve noticed that I have a tendency to ramble.

Obviously, two pages- front and back - is too long to post here.  Here are the highlights:

April 15, 2011

Hey self,

So currently, I’m sitting at my host family’s kitchen table wondering what you’ll want to hear about two years from now.  It’s the last day of training- thank god…

I sincerely can’t express how happy and relieved I am to be done with training.  It was such an absurd event that felt like it was never going to end...
Our trainers said that training was the most difficult part of their service.  Is that how you feel now?

We move to our sites in one week.  I’m honestly a little concerned about getting all my *stuff* there.  I’m sure that will be an experience.  I’m looking forward to finally getting to site and starting this whole experience.  I hope I can get my house set up to the point where it feels like home.  As of now, I can only think of that windowless cement box as a suffocating cave.  Yeah, a little bleak, but I’m sure it’ll get there…

Shirley said something about writing aspirations or something like that.  I’ll do my best.
1.     To become integrated into the community
2.     To make a difference, somehow, even if it’s small
3.     To make Ugandan and PCV friends
4.     To figure out what my next life step is
5.     To learn more about Uganda
6.     To share about America
7.     To have fun and stay healthy

Hopefully some of these got accomplished.  Even though it’s last, I think #7 is the most important.  I really hope that I can look back on the last two years and say that I really enjoyed my Peace Corps experience and that I stayed happy and well…

I guess I have more questions for my future self than I really have to tell you.
1.     Is it everything you thought it’d be? (à la John-Paul style)
2.     I’m so curious about which PCVs you’re close to now!  And how you all stay in touch after service.
3.     As of now, I’m thinking about going into non-profit business, maybe education, maybe development…So what am I doing now?  Did all that change?  Do I still want to go back to school?  Where am I going back to?  California?
4.     It’s weird.  Now I’m just getting over the initial hump of culture shock entering Uganda, you’re about to experience culture shock, in reverse.  What are your fears about that…?
5.     I’m very interested in the whole Nathan situation and how that all played out two years from now.  Two years is a short and long time all at once.  I hope it’s not too sore of a subject, but did it all work out?  Right now, I feel pretty good about our relationship… Congrats if you made it.  Sorry if you didn’t.  Hope it wasn’t too much of a mess, but knowing me, I’m sure it was a complete transcontinental disaster.
6.     With the largest portion of starches I’ve ever had in my life and the limited exercise, I’m pretty sure I’ve put on 10 pounds.  I hope that’s not actually true, but it definitely could be.  I really hope I find a better balance at site…
7.     I wonder what you consider to be your greatest accomplishment in service?
8.     What are you going to miss the most about Uganda?
9.     What are you looking forward to most in the states?
10.  Did you keep up with your blog?  I know in the beginning I really didn’t think I would, but I got pretty into it during training…

I really hope Peace Corps service and these last two years were everything you’d hope they’d be.  I really hope you enjoyed your time in Uganda.

I should probably actually get to sessions because I skipped out this morning to do washing…

A quote that Ilse gave to us yesterday: “Wherever you go, go with all your heart.”

Congratulations kiddo.  You made it.


1 comment:

  1. Ditto.....Congratulations Chelser! You made it & did a fantastic job. We're all waiting for you to come home - where our hearts are. We love you & are so happy for you