It’s in the brochure, on the website, and talked about in pre-service interviews, sacrifices are made by those serving in the Peace Corps. But, the sacrifices that are mentioned most often are ones dealing with comforts of home. Volunteers sacrifice hot running water, maybe even running water all together, peanut butter and other great American goodies, constant electricity, comfort in travel, a real bed…the list could go on. While we certainly do gain, in experience, memories, and friendships with nationals in our country of service, the sacrifice of missing time with friends and family has, lately, been the most evident of all.
Within the last few months, three of my very best friends from Arizona State got engaged. With wedding dates in the next 9 months, its looking like we wont be able to attend at least two of the three weddings. We also missed the wedding of one of our best friends who lived with us in China, which took place shortly after we arrived in Cameroon.
Let me tell you: it is difficult to be away! These three, incredible and incredibly different girls, and I go way back. We all met living on the same floor of the Mariposa dorm in August 2004. While their engagements and weddings signify mile-marker life events, there are many other day to day interactions with all of our friends that we have missed. Birthdays, anniversaries, babies being born, job promotions, moves across the country, and just the random Friday nights spent together over dinner.
It’s easy to rest assured in that our friendships will remain solid and will pick up where we left off as soon as Shaun and I touch back down in the US; that is not my concern. I just wish, maybe only selfishly, that I could take part in the celebrations and weddings that are coming up. I wish, that I could be there with them, to cheers, to laugh, and reconnect, the same way they were there for me on our wedding day. I long to spend time with these lovelies and laugh about the stupid things we used to do and say when we were in college.
These weddings are just a reminder that the lives of our loved ones at home are still moving forward – and so they should! This week, I am just reminded of how much I miss happy hours and IPAs with our Portland crew, running along the Willamette with the Achys, coffee dates and trips to QT in the middle of Tempe’s 100+ degree summers, hanging out on my parents patio…Don’t even get me started on Thanksgiving or Christmas! To me, it is these moments of ‘life’ that are the greatest sacrifice of being away.
But, with everything, there is a silver lining. The ache is reassurance of the support and network we have cheering us on from afar. It makes me so excited to reconnect with our circle of friends and family alike in a mere 9 more months and catch up on these little days of life that we have missed out on. Until then, here’s to a great wedding planning season to three girls from Mairposa hall.
All of us, circa 2008.