Saturday, July 16, 2011
To be continued...
They say it ain't over till it's over and I guess that's why I decided to request to extend my stay here as a Peace Corps volunteer in Romania. It's been a long while since the first day in this place and the 50,000 plus photos and video are only part of the story that I've been able to share with others around the world. The real story is how others and myself have changed through the process of my service. It's obvious in the classroom for those whom I've taught and in the language skills I've acquired. But not so obvious in the details which are imbedded in my memory and that of others. Those things that we've experienced together, the children and I, their parents, my Romanian colleagues, the friends that I've made, and other volunteers who've been a part of that with me in these past two years.
I will adore telling these stories, although at times it will be sad or frustrating as there will be distance and time between us. Each day that passes there are many moments which I want to capture forever and I've tried to record everything that I could, but it's never the lens, the personal one, which we feel in our heart when there is a laugh, a smile, a touched hand, a view, a taste, a feeling that is all yours. As Peace Corps volunteers, those of us who put our whole selves in while away for 27 months, there is nothing that compares to the time which we spend away. That's the reason I asked to stay on and I know that it will all be worth any sacrifice which may come. After our country director and Washington agreed that it would be a benefit to the program for me to continue into 2012, I thought about how much I'd been able to accomplish and what a large responsibility I still had before me to put forth the best of what President Kennedy envisioned to other people who live far away.
The difference is that now, after twenty seven months, there are friends here, friends who are just as loved and admired as those I had before. There are children who will know things that I only I could teach them, the hundreds of them in Moldavia and elsewhere across Romania. There was the visiting, the adapting,the conversations about life, differences and similarities, the church-going, the cooking, the funerals, the christenings, the birthdays,the walks, the vacations, the work, the play and all the other things to never forget. There are familiar places, sights and sounds that I will be able to revisit to recapture once more. All of that and much, much more is on the horizon again. Also, many of you have ridden along with me by reading this blog, commenting on my Facebook posts or CNN iReports, or reading the articles which I've written for ACUM and Peace Corps publications in order to know a bit about the life here with all the people who've I've touched and touched me. And I am so grateful.
So into the next year, I will try to make more of a mark each day, just as I've tried to do each morning of each day since May 28th of 2009. And I do hope that you'll come along with me on this journey about Romania, whether you have a minute to view a picture or video, a coffee break to read a story, or a half and hour to write here to see what's going on. It has been a joy to be able to send home the message that despite our different nationalities, we are all a part of the same great big family.
Reporting from Romania Peace Corps, this is Natalie, looking forward to tomorrow in this wonderful world.