I’m back in Guatemala. And coming back this time was hard. Really hard.

Not because I couldn’t seem to get back to my site yesterday (taxi, wait an hour at the terminal and then finally get on a bus that got me partway to site, then wait at another terminal and finally manage to get a ride with the muni ambulance on it’s way back to town…) and not because I don’t seem to have any water – though these things aren’t helping. It’s hard because I had to leave my parents and sister and leaving them (now that our reunions are so irregular) turns me into a blubbering five year old. It’s hard because I literally left paradise. It’s hard because I left paradise for a place that is frustrating, uncomfortable and oftentimes lonely for me.

It feels like I’ve lost a lot of the optimism and patience I had when I came back in May. And it’s shocking that this time is so hard because last time I had to come back with fresh memories of being robbed and I didn’t cry nearly this much. Needless to say, I haven’t come back rejuvenated like I had hoped.

And I feel torn because Peace Corps is in the process of cutting back and reevaluating many programs in Central America (including Guatemala) and there are volunteers who are on their way home and I know that I am thankful to not be one of them. I want the chance to finish my service in full. I would be incredibly upset if I were told my time here was over before I felt I had done all I could. I would be mad if my RPCV title had been taken from me after spending almost 17 months here. I have unfinished business. But I’m not currently looking forward to the finishing. I want to be done, but am overwhelmed at the prospect of what it’s going to take to get there.

But I’m not giving up. January is going to bring plenty of change and (hopefully) opportunity and I’m going to finish this thing whether I like it or not. I’m sure I’ll love it (this is, after all, the “toughest job you’ll ever love” right?). I’ve just got to stop crying first.

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2 Responses to Torn

  1. Chanda Cabrera says:

    I am so amazed at what you have done, Carmen. You have left your life here to help others in a foreign country that was so foreign to you before you got there. You have left your family and friends here, but have gained a new family and friends there. You are living memories that you will cherish for a lifetime. Your daily conundrums there will be forever etched in your memories, and I’m sure that you will look back fondly on them when your time is done there. I am truly impressed with what you are doing in Guatamala and how headstrong and determined you are to make a difference.. You are loved at home, and also loved by those you have touched in your new life. You are one of those people who we at home brag about knowing. Sending you love and hugs, Chanda

  2. Todd says:

    Wow, I only finished my Peace Corps Service a month ago in Tonga and your blog brought me completely back to the emotions I felt as a PCV especially when you said ” I want to be done, but am overwhelmed at the prospect of what it’s going to take to get there.” I struggled with that idea almost everyday of my entire service, Peace Corps is certainly a long haul. I always told myself that I could easily get through the current day and left it at that. Now that I’m home I proudly tell my friends and family who ask about my service that “It was the most challenging thing and most rewarding thing I’ve ever done in my life” and that makes it all worth it.

    I actually just got a job offer in Guatemala and would love to hear more about the country from a PCV’s perspective. If you have time at your next internet visit please connect with me at

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