Life is full of sad and/or difficult moments, and that’s part of what makes it life. To portray only the happy things is to show only a portion of what’s actually there, and because I want this blog to be as complete of a picture as possible about what life is like for me as a volunteer in Panama, I want to share the sad parts too.
The first few weeks in country were pretty much 100% happiness and excitement for me. With all of the great things that were happening, it was like there wasn’t even room for any negative emotions. Obviously that couldn’t last forever though, and the other day everything that was bothering me finally piled up. On top of multiple other things going on at home and in Panama, my dog died unexpectedly, my brand new camera broke, termites joined the motley crew currently living in my room and ate my brand new book, AND I accidentally told my host mother that I was completely okay with having stomach for dinner (which she promptly delivered on).
In 24 hours I went from being the happiest I have been in a long time to crying while walking myself to class; talk about a complete 360. Ironically, the same day that everything dropped on me like a bag of bricks, our afternoon training session was focused on dealing with stressors and emotional setbacks. The session was actually really helpful, and it reminded me that while it’s okay to be upset sometimes, it’s how you deal with it and move forward that really matters.
The only slightly discouraging thing I learned was that we’re still considered to be in the “Honeymoon Phase,” and that I’m likely going to feel much more lonely and discouraged in a few weeks when I become the only English-speaking person in my remote Panamanian village. When you’re depressed, there’s certainly nothing like being told that it’s going to get worse…
That being said, the challenges, emotional and otherwise, are what make Peace Corps such a difficult and yet incredibly rewarding job. One of my main reasons for moving to Panama was to really push myself: physically, emotionally, and professionally. I have no doubt that this experience will do all of those things, and that I will COS and return to the States two years from now as a stronger and better person.
Thank you all for your love and support. And to my mom: Yes, I am still 100% positive that I want to be here, termites and all :)