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"I am absolutely certain that my Peace Corps service will greatly influence my personal and professional aspirations after my service ends. I cannot, however, profess with any certainty whatsoever how that influence will look in 27 months. At present, I do not have any definite aspirations for after my service because I am approaching my future with a spirit of openness. I must acknowledge, however, the gap between a professed spirit of openness and the actual embodiment of it. It is well and good for me to spout a ‘spirit of openness’ mantra as my guidepost for my new experience and beyond, but I know it will be quite difficult to actually be open to whatever may or may not present itself to me in 27 months. Professionally, my service may determine my life course, or it may not. I know at the very least I will be equipped with countless skills and experience on which to build my future vocation, whatever it may be. Regardless, the opportunities available to me through the Peace Corps will enable me to expand my understanding of the human experience – how we operate as humans to understand our place in the world – and equip me with the skills necessary to actively address issues of social justice and environmental sustainability. As far as how my time as a Peace Corps Volunteer will influence my personal aspirations, I hope to live and work openly, compassionately, warmly, and in a spirit of service according to my values long after my 27 months in Micronesia."

Wow. I wrote this in May 2009 - over two years ago - and in 2 months my Peace Corps service is ending. The future is upon me =)

The last two months have been filled with such goodness. When I returned to my island in July I was swept up into a computer project. Federai now has over 12 new computer stations and it is my job to train the whole island on how to operate and maintain them before I leave in October. Should be challenging, should be fun!

My good friend Kanani came out to Ulithi for a visit at the end of July. Her visit happened to coincide with a tropical storm, so we nestled in, watched movies and did puzzles galore! By the end of the week, we dubbed each other with official grandma titles. But the storm interfered with our travel plans to our Close of Service Conference, and our pace makers were sure put to the test. Fortunately, while the flights were cancelled on Friday, we made it back to Yap on Saturday with about 12 hours to spare before we left for Pohnpei.

We arrived in Pohnpei in the middle of the night and were whisked away in a van to our hotel. With no bearings whatsoever, I crashed on my mosquito-netted waterbed. The next morning I started awake, shooting up to find the most breathtaking view of the water and Sokehs rock. Amazing. From then on, our COS conference at the Village did not disappoint.

Our Close of Service Conference was nothing short of wonderful. A number of my fellow volunteers were sadly missed, and we had a cozy affair of 13 PCVs. There were four of us on our way to Pohnpei and we had a lovely layover on Guam shopping, eating, and taking our outer island friend around. He was on his way to attend the College of Micronesia and he had never left Yap before. It was so neat to see him experience so many new things - elevators, hotel key cards, the Sunday rush at Denny's. Seeing his experience made me understand that this world can be as overwhelming as it is expansive.

From the layover on Guam with my ladies, it felt like I could feel the Universe pulsing through me - the energy and goodness were so palpable. And it continued throughout the week. The best way I can think to describe it is that Peace Corps has been a 2 year lesson on learning how to be present regardless. At COS I felt myself being present, and it felt like I was a sponge soaking up so much goodness! It was a rare opportunity in my life where, in those moments, I had the full realization that this experience as a whole has been whole-heartedly worth it - from chatting w/ the PCV transferring to Jordan to sharing around the circle about our group and our experience. We even saw the last Harry Potter movie in the only Micronesian movie theater!

Recently I spent the morning at a local funeral. The women here are known for their histrionics - loud, prolonged, dramatic sobs. That morning, however, after sitting with the body and saying Mass, there was only a single woman sobbing, her real crying audible under the long, musical notes of her sob - it was really quite beautiful. I felt honored to be a part of it. Through family ties the woman was a host relative of mine (everyone in the outer islands is connected to me somehow through family), and it was special for me to be able to join the ceremony as one of them. I think it was even more meaningful for me because this is technically my "old" community, and I still fit naturally. The only other funeral I attended was at the beginning of my service, and thinking back to then I can see the depth and the richness of sinking in to these communities for two years.

And so my two years are coming to a close. October 26th is my final day as a PCV. This Friday I return to Federai for the last stretch, during which time I'll be training the island on the new computer system donated this summer. I will say goodbye to Federai and come back to Yap on Oct. 17, finish up PC logistics, and say goodbye again here on Yap. On the 26th I fly from Yap to Jordan, which is where I'm moving. I'm going home to Colorado before Thanksgiving to spend time with my family through the New Year. Then it's back to Jordan with Andrew.

As you can tell, I'm entering the reflective stage upon finishing my service here. Despite my attempts at being present and aware, I do still feel as though time must be playing some sort of trick on me. How is it two years have passed and I have only two months to go? Regardless of the answer, I do know my task now is to be present and to be grateful. And I really am. Thank you. So now the question I really should be tackling is...

How do I think Peace Corps Service will HAS influenceD my personal and professional aspirations after my service...?

To be continued =) Whee!


Porter said...

Best of luck with this discernment, Emily. I feel like you're on the right path, to say the least.

Dawn said...

It's always good to be reflective and know where you've been. I appreciate the lesson of being present regardless. I need to learn that better. Good luck in your constant journeys. If you ever find your way back to the NW, I'd love to see you.

Emilio Fernandez said...

Good morning how are you?

My name is Emilio, I am a Spanish boy and I live in a town near to Madrid. I am a very interested person in knowing things so different as the culture, the way of life of the inhabitants of our planet, the fauna, the flora, and the landscapes of all the countries of the world etc. in summary, I am a person that enjoys traveling, learning and respecting people's diversity from all over the world.

I would love to travel and meet in person all the aspects above mentioned, but unfortunately as this is very expensive and my purchasing power is quite small, so I devised a way to travel with the imagination in every corner of our planet. A few years ago I started a collection of used stamps because trough them, you can see pictures about fauna, flora, monuments, landscapes etc. from all the countries. As every day is more and more difficult to get stamps, some years ago I started a new collection in order to get traditional letters addressed to me in which my goal was to get at least 1 letter from each country in the world. This modest goal is feasible to reach in the most part of countries, but unfortunately it’s impossible to achieve in other various territories for several reasons, either because they are countries at war, either because they are countries with extreme poverty or because for whatever reason the postal system is not functioning properly.

For all this I would ask you one small favor:
Would you be so kind as to send me a letter by traditional mail from Federated States of Micronesia? I understand perfectly that you think that your blog is not the appropriate place to ask this, and even, is very probably that you ignore my letter, but I would call your attention to the difficulty involved in getting a letter from that country, and also I don’t know anyone neither where to write in Federated States of Micronesia in order to increase my collection. a letter for me is like a little souvenir, like if I have had visited that territory with my imagination and at same time, the arrival of the letters from a country is a sign of peace and normality and an original way to promote a country in the world. My postal address is the following one:

Emilio Fernandez Esteban
Avenida Juan de la Cierva, 44
28902 Getafe (Madrid)

If you wish, you can visit my blog www.cartasenmibuzon.blogspot.com where you can see the pictures of all the letters that I have received from whole World.

Finally I would like to thank the attention given to this letter, and whether you can help me or not, I send my best wishes for peace, health and happiness for you, your family and all your dear beings.

Yours Sincerely

Emilio Fernandez

Ray Blakney said...

Good Day Emily!

Sorry to bother you. My name is Ray Blakney and I am a RPCV from Mexico. I am working on a 3rd goal project with the PC regional offices and the main office in DC to try to create an online archive to keep the language training material made all over the world from getting lost. I have created a sub-section on the website my wife and I run - http://www.livelingua.com - with all the information I have been able to get to date (from over the web and sent to me directly by PC staff and PCV's). I currently have close to 100 languages with ebooks, audios and even some videos.

The next step for this project is that I am trying to get the world out about this resource so that it can not only be used by PCV's or those accepted into the Peace Corps, but also so that when people run across material that is not on the site they can send it to me and I can get it up for everybody to use. I was hoping that you could help getting the word out by putting a link on this on your site at:


so that people know it is there. There should be something there for almost everybody. It is all 100% free to use and share. Here is the specific page of the Peace Corps Archive:


Thanks for any help you can provide in making this 3rd goal project a success. And if anybody in your group has some old material they can scan or already have in digital form, and want to add to the archive, please don't hesitate to pass them my email. Thanks and have a great day.

Ray Blakney

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