I knew I wanted to join the Peace Corps since I was in 5th or 6th grade. And this long dream of mine finally became a reality last March. From getting rejected my first time applying, to landing at the LAX airport, Peace Corps wasn’t real. It wasn’t until I was at staging and meeting my fellow ID10 (other volunteers) that it finally hit me that going away for two years was real.
As I was sitting at the round table in the conference room with 6 other volunteers, I was constantly hoping their stories would convince me that I was making the right choice. My emotions were everywhere and a little voice at the back of my head kept telling me I couldn’t go through with it. It all felt so wrong. The honest truth was, I didn’t want to leave my comfortable nest. I loved being home, I loved babysitting my nephew and niece (also didn’t help that I spent 7 months with them-almost everyday) and I love being semi close to my boyfriend. It was one of the hardest things saying good-bye to all of that.
Then, my group found out we weren’t flying to Indonesia that following Saturday! (If you want to know why – watch this). There was a small part of me that felt slightly relieved. Having more time to spend in L.A. meant I had more time to think about flying back home. Throughout the week in L.A. and into the first week of training, being surrounded by people who were eager to served, allow me to mask my own insecurities about Peace Corps.
I had a miserable first few days at my Pre-Service Training (PST) host family’s home. Of course it had nothing to do with them, but with the fact that I was alone for the first time since I’ve arrived in L.A. I had several good cries in my room where I allowed myself to feel all the suppressed emotions I’d masked the last couple of weeks. I recalled one evening during the first week of PST, in a nearby Internet café close to my village, (the first time I finally got internet – about a week of no contact with friends and family back at home) I balled my eyes out reading an email from my boyfriend. I also cried when I was finally able to call him. So on several occasions I cried! I cried, I cried, and I cried until it finally felt ok. And I’m glad I allowed myself to. I needed it.
Don't get me wrong, it's not that I didn't want to do Peace Corps. I've never wanted to do anything else more, but reaching one's dream is scary! I was afraid of the unknown even when it was right in front of me. I was homesick, it was hot, I was tired from the long training hours and everyday I had to try to put on a brave face. It was hard reaching out to others when I kept telling myself I had to be happy, I must be happy, I chose this!
That was the worst part. As the weeks went by, slowly day-by-day, I could begin to imagine myself actually doing it. By week 5 of training, I felt better about sticking to my decision to come to Indonesia. Practicum (where we practiced teaching in a real classroom) rolled around, and I loved interacting with the students. I knew right then and there I had done the right thing! Now, after 5 months, I am thanking my former self for having to go through one of the hardest things I’ve ever done in order for me to do one of the best things I will ever do, which is getting a chance to be a part of my little village and working closely with incredible Indonesian students.
Everyday, as I stroll through my village on my short bike ride to school, I still can’t believe I’m living my dreams. I am finally doing what I’ve always wanted to do, and I’m right where I’m meant to be. And in my toughest times, I was reminded that God would never give me more than I can handle, so I thank God for challenging me everyday.
This is where I share my journey in the Peace Corps. The contents of this blog are mine personally and do not reflect any position of the U.S. government or the Peace Corps.
Hi welcome to my blog. My name is Sia and this is my safe haven. This is a place for me to write, journal, and share ideas.
IG @ ms.sia.chang