So may will mark one year at-site as a volunteer. This halfway point has me feeling either one of two ways at any time of the day on any given day:
Oh god, ONE MORE YEAR HERE? this is feeling like a sentence as in prison sentence rather than volunteer service!
Oh god, I ONLY HAVE ONE YEAR LEFT to enjoy Albania and to do all those great projects to
build my resume… build Albania’s ability to help itself develop sustainably.
Whether I feel like the first or second depends on few things such as the progression of projects, level of harassment, number of cute children Ive seen that day in puffy coats, how long its been since Ive been out of site, whether I got up on the wrong or right side of bed, etc.
One year in does offer tons of perspective and knowledge. When I look back at the first year, I can see how “out of sync” I was with the pace of life and work here. It reminds me of riding a bicycle in the way that you have to shift gears to find the best rate at which you can propel you and the bike forward given the road’s slope, curves, hazards. The first few months in site I was pedaling way too hard due to the excitement of finally being at site as a peace corps volunteer. 7-8 months into site I was pedaling way to slow because experience had shown me not much ever happens here and when it does it is seemingly random. Now one year in site I feel like Ive got a better feel for the road. Where to go for what, how to find people, how to AVOID people, how to get people interested, how to gauge actual interest, etc.
Let’s hope I can make this second year a really great one…