This is what I feel as I come to the end of my service-Pure gratitude for my placement in this beautiful country in the city of Chinandega. I am grateful for the people that have crossed my path and become key components to my experience here.
I have met amazing individuals that have helped me to re-define the meaning of living fully and whole-heartedly. I have learned to love more freely, judge my self a little less, and define a good day as having a personal connection whether it be with myself or someone else. This place and the people I have become close with(Nicas, Volunteers, and ex-pats) have forever changed me, and I am grateful for that. I still love the great outdoors and the ocean, but with a greater intensity and appreciation than ever. I feel I have become a more pure, uncluttered, down to earth version of the gal that left the states two years ago.
I have immense gratitude for the counterparts and organizations that helped me to make my dream of improving the lives of Latin American women a reality. I have worked with women entrepreneurs in meeting their personal and professional goals. I have influenced business owners, youth and educators. I have loved many Nicaraguan people and they have changed me eternally. I have surfed and salsa danced my heart out. I have challenged myself in so many ways- emotionally, physically and intellectually. I came in to this experience with an open mind and heart, to fill it up with much more than I thought I ever could. I am so very grateful for this.
I am grateful that the people I have worked with have chosen to express their gratitude for me in various ways. The ladies of Pro Mujer put on a house party with loud salsa music, friend chicken, soda and a gift of a turtle statue: I only like the first of those four things, but I’m so grateful! I love that this is how they show me how grateful they were for my two years of working closely with them.
Regret is not a word I like to use, mainly because I don’t believe it exists; it’s simply an unhealthy form of dwelling in the past. Everything happens for a reason and you learn from it. As I reflect back on my service and begin to put on paper what these 2 years meant, I contemplate if there is anything that I have left undone, but there isn’t. I am grateful for every ounce of sadness, discomfort, rejection, joy, accomplishment and triumph I experienced. Because the harder times help me to grow and realize just how grateful I am for all the wonderful things in my life.
I am grateful to have experienced living in a developing country and realize just how great we have it in the U.S. and where our values could be considered out of whack. I can say I truly have loved living here and I’m hesitant to re-immerse myself in the first world, but I’m grateful that I have that opportunity to do so if I chose. I can’t tell you how many Nicaraguans have asked me to take them with me to the U.S., jokingly, but with all seriousness.
I am grateful that the stars aligned and I will be studying at the University of South Carolina in an internationally focused MBA program that fits me perfectly. I’m grateful that I will be traveling back to Latin America with in nine months as I continue to study and feed my craving to travel. I’m grateful that my position with Peace Corps and my past experiences has helped me to obtain a scholarship in the process.
I am grateful for all the friends and family back home who have supported me and even made their way down to see my life in Nicaragua. I am grateful that you all have taken an interest in what I chose to do with my life for two years here in Nicaragua. Thank you.