Tag Archives: Saying Goodbye

One week left!

27 May

How does it feel to wake up with only one week left in my Peace Corps service?

Click here to find out

I can hardly contain myself. I’m absolutely giddy, and at any moment I could be on the brink of tears.

Suddenly I feel so free, nothing matters. All of the little things that concern me, stress me, bother me…in a week they’ll all be gone.
Yet at the same time EVERYTHING matters. The time is so limited.  Because of that, all of the things that I have come to appreciate and love about this experience —the people, my village, all of the day in and day out stuff I’ve become comfortable and familiar with — all of the good stuff, equally will be gone in a week. Every moment is precious.

I find myself in an odd dance with everyone around me. Living our lives as usual, yet with the acute awareness of my imminent departure. It’s hard to leave, yes, but to reiterate Erin’s post and something I’ve now felt from the both sides—  it’s harder for the one that’s being left, than the one doing the leaving…

I’m a reflective person. It’s often easier for me to make sense of something in hindsight when I can piece it all together. So for now, I won’t try any further to explain what all is happening in my head. I’d rather focus on a few highlights from last week.

Gelar Seni and an official goodbye

Last Sunday was our school’s Gelar Seni. It is a combination between a graduation ceremony and an arts showcase. If video didn’t take so long to upload and I had software to edit it with, I’d consider posting a few pieces from it. It’s one of my favorite events because it allows me to see my students’ in such a different light where their creativity isn’t limited by the walls of their classroom. (See last year’s Gelar Seni post for some examples.) There were a variety of performances including student bands, dance routines, dramas, the school choir and more. It also gave me the opportunity to officially thank my school community and ask for forgiveness. (Asking for forgiveness is very common here. During special holidays or events or even something as simple as speaking up at a teacher’s meeting, people will often say they are sorry and ask for forgiveness for any mistakes they have made. This includes mistakes that they are unaware they have made.)

Teacher’s Workshop in Bondowoso

After weeks of on and off frustrations with class cancellations, counterparts’ dwindling motivation, and the other typical inconsistencies at my school, we ended on a good note. At our Sustainability Conference  back in March my principal, counterpart and I discussed having a workshop in our district to share our best practices. With some pushing from me and help from the wonderful English teachers at the local MGMP (English teacher’s professional group), we had the workshop last week. It was a hit! Sixty teachers from junior and senior high schools in Bondowoso and English teachers from local tutoring centers attended. They learned a little bit about me, the U.S. (Arizona to be more specific), Peace Corps and a lot about activities and techniques to use in their classrooms to engage their students more and set them up for success in learning English as a Foreign Language. I’ve been receiving emails and texts from teacher’s who’ve already tried out some of the new activities in their classes. They said their students loved it! Hooray for sustainability and spreading best practices!

One last weekend trip

A while back I got the idea to go paragliding in Batu from a few other volunteers who had attempted it. The weather wasn’t right, so they weren’t actually able to do it. Then I kept hearing about it and seeing it. I quickly added it to my “Before I leave Peace Corps Indonesia Bucket List.” It wasn’t too difficult to recruit a fellow volunteer up for jumping off a mountain with essentially a glorified kite.

Here we go! Attempt #1:

Mike had a little more luck with the wind than I did.

Here we go again! Attempt #2

We did it!

Goodbye life as I know it

5 Apr

I don’t know if I knew you could feel so many emotions at once and on such opposite sides of the spectrum. Stress. Excitement. Sadness. Pure Joy. Fear. Hope. Calm. Anxiety. Uncertainty. Certainty. Love. Love. Love.

But that’s what I’ve felt these last few days and even weeks preceding my leaving. I’ve come to the realization that I am going to be missed. I don’t know why it took me so long to figure that one out. I have such love and support at home, which makes it so hard to leave. But I also know it’s that love and support that has brought me to this point in my life, and I’m forever grateful.

I am going to miss so much about home. I’ve had time to mull it over, and here a just a few of the things I’ll miss:

  • Mexican food, mexican food, mexican food — specifically chips and salsa and guacamole
  • Some of my favorite places (in no particular order): the Tempe Library, my neighborhood greenbelt, Robbie Fox’s, Canteen, Casey Moore’s, Coffee Rush, Camelback, South Mountain, Cornish Pasty, Gallo Blanco, Joe’s Farm Grill, Phoenicia Cafe, In-N- Out Burger, Filaberto’s haha and many more.
  • Arizona sunsets
  • The dry heat
  • Shorts
  • Long hot showers ( I thought about this every time I took a shower in the past few weeks — which was every day)
  • My bed
  • My commute to Downtown Phoenix and my daily dose of NPR
  • Spring training
  • Summer, laying out by the pool, margaritas
  • My dogs

But most of all I will miss my family and friends. I wish there was a way I could pack them up and take them all with me.

This was my last view of Phoenix, the place I’ve called home for 23 years. The picture doesn’t do it justice but it was beautiful and a great way to be sent off.

Looking towards Downtown Phoenix from Sky Harbor Airport

On that note, here begins a new chapter in my life… the next time you hear from me I’ll be halfway around the world!