Picnics, Sunburn, Wallet . . .

Today was a good day. Yesterday too. I am super tired now, but it was worth the memories.

Last night I had a friend over. We stayed up until sunrise talking, watching shows, and just getting to know each other. I even cried to him because he was saying how I can be better than where I come from, telling me about his life, and I thought about how much I miss my family and my stress for years with my sister and I started crying because I miss my mom. It was one of those evenings where you really get to know someone . . . we learned a lot about each other. We shared our struggles, our progress, our successes . . . I’m happy I’ve made a new friend.

While he was over, my colleague texted me to tell me there’s a picnic in the morning. I was a bit mad because this was the night before and it was super last minute. Our volunteers aren’t so good at communication. Anyway, I told him I’d be there, so eventually my friend and I went to sleep. I made us breakfast and coffee in the morning. Then we headed out to face the gorgeous day.

At the picnic, I got pretty sunburned, but I saw a lot of people and learned that one girl will be coming to Tennessee in the fall for a year of study abroad. I’m super excited and look forward to showing her around America when I get a chance.

Today, I was so tired by the time I got back home that I left my wallet on the bus. I had been sitting with a lady who recognized me and offered me to sit with her. She got in touch with one of my team mates, who called me and let me know they’d found it. It was shocking because right after I realized I didn’t have it (I was in the center of my town about halfway home), he called me to tell me someone had it and asked me where I was. I told him and he said to wait there. So that woke me up a bit. The lady’s daughter came and brought it to me, which was awesome. Thank God I’m integrated enough in my community for that to happen. I was lucky.

I’m so thankful for all of my friends. Yesterday, seeing Loreana and my other friend and her parents giving me a bunch of vegetables straight from the garden was great. The late night conversations, and watching movies with her on Friday night before I met up with my friends from Romania. That was another day of luck — my friend’s phone had died, so Ingrid, another PCV, waited with me in the center of Balti until I spotted him. Thankfully, he’d taken a selfie with his friends so I was able to identify them by what they were wearing.

My life seems to be a continuum of luck and serendipity. I’m so blessed for everything that happens to me. There is so much positive energy surrounding my daily routine. Reminiscing on the past with these photos I found on my Google cloud, I’ve realized just how much I’ve grown. I was making poor decisions in some ways, and I have really grown . . . it’s hard to explain, but I’ll try. I take my time more now. I am more aware of my surroundings. I try to slow down and be more involved in what’s going on.

Sitting on the trolleybus this afternoon with my sunglasses and earphones in for some metal to pump me with some adrenaline, I felt this wave of self-love and acceptance. Like, I am amazing the way I am, I don’t need anyone to make me feel better about myself. Friends are there to help each other, to vent, to listen, to love and support. But, at the end of the day, all we have is ourselves and we should be self-driven. Just writing this makes me feel more invigorated about myself. I think Peace Corps has taught me to learn to love myself, and I’m working towards self-discipline, self-control, self-confidence . . . all those things we can only develop on our own time. Others can give us feedback and try to help steer us in the right direction, but ultimately it’s up to us. That’s the beauty of being a human. Of being an individual. Of being strong. I am strong. I have become so much stronger than I was before I left the states. I will go home with this strength in my head, in my heart, and in my soul, and no matter what I do next, no one can take that away from me. Like my education, this service has brought me opportunities I could have never dreamed of.

God, thank you for this amazing life you have granted me to live. Despite its struggles, it has been so much better than I could have ever asked for.

I am better, and I will keep getting better. I am the best of the best, America’s finest, as my friend stated last night. Peace Corps wouldn’t have let me be here, and I wouldn’t have stayed, if that weren’t true.

That’s a powerful feeling.

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