It’s nice to know that I’m not alone in my frustrations. I appreciate my fellow PCMIs around the world and volunteer friends in Guatemala for chiming in and sharing their own stories and letting me know via this blog and email and phone calls that I’m not crazy and that I’m not the only one dealing with some of these problems.
I was particularly comforted on Wednesday after a presentation by some 3rd year volunteers (so people have so much fun in Peace Corps that they sign up for another year!). They reviewed something we had seen during training… something that, in the frenzy of all day marathon meetings and language issues and culture shock and non stop shots from med staff, I had managed to completely forget about: The Volunteer Life Cycle. (Doesn’t that sound magical? Like we’re all beautiful butterflies emerging from cocoons.)
It talked about all the things you feel during different parts of service – pre departure, training all the way through close of service. And when they got to where I’m at (11-14 months) I was startled to see, right there in bold letters: Mid Service Crisis.
- Comparing myself to other volunteers and experiencing stress and guilt due to believing I haven’t accomplished enough? Check.
- Feeling stuck and left behind as friends lives back home continue (marriage, babies, new jobs) and the novelty of being in country wears off? Check.
Sure, it’s unfortunate that we’re all feeling so down in the dumps, but apparently it’s just another one of those Peace Corps badges of honor. Like diarrhea and awkward host family situations. We’ll get through it and soon be on to the next step, that fabled awesomness that is the second year of service.