Officially becoming a Peace Corps Volunteer!
The 10 weeks that felt like 10 days, but also like 10 years, is finally over. Pre-Service Training is complete! The 10 weeks were filled with cultural, medical, core, safety and security, and TEFL sessions, intensive language training, practicum, and cramped taxi rides…but also with endless laughs, bonding with my cohort, immersion into a new culture, becoming a part of an amazing host family, and falling in love with Kosovo. I would be lying if I said I’m not going to miss anything about PST; I really will. But I’m also excited to be able to exercise a bit of independence and begin integrating into my new host family and new community.
Pre-Service training was a lot of things, but one thing it wasn’t was easy. I’d like to say I feel ready for my service but I don’t think I could ever really feel “ready”… and I think that’s what Peace Corps essentially is. Or how it’s felt, anyway. You won’t know until you do it.
Swearing In was actually a pretty big deal here in Kosovo. Later that night, my new family had the news on and it kept replaying highlights from the ceremony. Side note, my family was able to spot me on TV from my hair almost immediately.
The US Ambassador to Kosovo, Greg Delawie, was there, along with a few other higher up officials from the Kosovar government.
The ceremony lasted a little over an hour, and you can watch it here if you feel like not understanding half of what is being said because some of it is in Albanian:
Basically, we took an oath, got a certificate, and officially became Peace Corps Volunteers. No more e-mails from staff addressed: Dear Trainees, and no more having every hour of my week scheduled. Time to start what I came here to do.
It’s bittersweet. The thing I’ll miss most about PST is definitely the people. I’ll miss seeing my village crew every day and miss seeing my best friend, Eric, nearly every day at HUB as well. Lucky for me, Eric is just a short bus ride away in the next city, but for the others, we’re all spread out. Conveniently for us all, though, Kosovo is a small country, so I’m foreseeing a lot of day trips in the future.
I’ll also dearly miss my PST host family. They were an unbelievably perfect introduction to Kosovo for me and I’ll adore them forever. I already got a Facebook message from my host mom lovingly informing me that I forgot a pair of shoes at the house and I can take them back with me whenever I come visit (which I’m sure will be very soon).
It still hasn’t hit me yet that 1. I wont be going back to my village in Eastern Kosovo except to visit, 2. I don’t have 9 friends living in my village, let alone right next door (shoutout to Va, my love), 3. I’m essentially on my own, and 4. I’m actually beginning my service.
Ready or not, it’s happening. Cheers to the next 2 years!