Saying Goodbye Will Be Hard

August 18, 2010

The last couple of days have been very emotional for me. Monday I went to work (technically my Friday as I have Tuesday and Wednesday as my weekend) and was feeling very discouraged about the whole Peace Corps thing. I’m actually not sure if discouraged is the right word. I guess I was just feeling overwhelmed by how stressed I let myself get over the process and over waiting to hear about an invitation. Things just got to me and I reached a point where I needed to let it go completely.

While sitting at my computer and avoiding the temptation to long in to PCJ, I decided to go on a road trip. I had been wanting to get over to the beach for quite some time and decided this was a perfect opportunity. I enlisted my old roommate on the adventure and we decided to leave immediately, Monday after work.

I picked her up at 7:30 after a quick stop at home to pick up a change of clothes and a few other essentials. She loaded her tent into the car and we were on our way. Three and a half hours later, around 11pm, we arrived in Long Beach, Washington, set up camp, and immediately went to sleep. We woke up yesterday and had a wonderful morning/afternoon walking around town. By about 3pm we were reading to leave and started the long journey back home. While we were only there for literally 16 hours, 8 of which we were sleeping, this was an incredibly meaningful trip for me.

Long Beach is a place of memories for me. Growing up my grandma took me and my sister along with our two cousins to this town every year. I can remember at least nine different trips to the beach filled with the Marsh Museum, Dooger’s Diner, and Scooper’s Ice Cream parlor. I remember sleeping in RVs, campgrounds, and run down motels. I remember playing in the sand, jumping in the waves, and basking in the sunshine. These are some of my happiest memories growing up.

So yesterday, as I sat on the beach looking out over the Pacific Ocean, I couldn’t help but remember those trips. I realized that in just a few months I could be trading in this 65 and overcast beach for the tropical happenings of Tonga or Samoa or another Pacific Island. I could be looking out at this same body of water from way over on the opposite side of the horizon. That’s an exciting thought, but also a very difficult one to grasp.

Saying goodbye is going to be hard. There are so many memories here, so much experience and so much growing up. And when I say here, I don’t just mean Long Beach. I mean this life, this adventure I’ve been living for 26 years. There will be a distinct line in the sand between my current adventure and my new one – new people, new location, new experiences. It’s one I’m ready to take on, but that doesn’t mean I’m not sad to be leaving this one so far behind.

This trip to the beach put into perspective exactly what I’m choosing to do with my life and it made me just a bit less anxious to get that phone call. I shouldn’t be counting down the days until I find out or until I leave. I should be rejoicing in the days I have left here and enjoying them to the fullest. I know I wasn’t supposed to be thinking about Peace Corps today, but I’m really glad that I did.

On the drive home yesterday, I finally allowed myself to check my email on my phone. I hadn’t had my phone on me all day in an attempt to avoid checking it every five minutes for a missed call, but at one of our rest stops I picked it up, logged on and found an email from the Education Desk. I was shocked, a bit apprehensive to open it (with the new realizations I had that day), but did it anyway.

As a reminder, I sent my updated resume last week with my new degree on it and received an email back on Monday stating that I should hear something by the end of the month. I responded to that apologizing for being so antsy about things but that it was difficult with the beginning of the year approaching to make decisions about a job and signing a contract … this was a bit of a fib since I already made a final decision not to return to teaching, but I thought I’d put it out there in case it bumped me up a bit in the process. I didn’t expect anything back.

The same AMAZING assistant emailed me back and told me that my antsiness was justified and that the process can be very long and difficult to get through. She informed me that my placement officer was actually out of the office, not back until Tuesday. She said she wouldn’t be able to discuss my situation with her until her return but that she would be sure to note it in the file and speak with her when she got back about getting in contact with me ASAP. She told me that if I hadn’t heard anything by late next week that I should give her a call.

This information was surprising and bittersweet. I love that I know that I won’t have information until at least Tuesday so that I can relax the next five days. I hate that I won’t have information until at least Tuesday because that’s another week of waiting. I’m also a little discouraged that I won’t hear until at least Tuesday because the only two Pacific Island countries listed so far have Tuesday as a 6-week deadline. I don’t mind receiving an invitation within 6 weeks, I just hope her absence from the office doesn’t mean all the positions will be filled by other applicants and change my nomination/invitation. Is this a justified concern? I have no idea … but it is one.

So overall, I’m feeling okay about things. I wish I was going to hear sooner rather than later, but at least I know my file is on a specific desk and is on its way somewhere … hopefully to an invitation.


4 Responses to “Saying Goodbye Will Be Hard”

  1. Elena Says:

    Hi Kylene,

    I really wish I knew anything more about whether you could be a teacher trainer in Tonga… it’s all uncertainty from this side too! What I can say is that there are several teacher trainers that entered in my group, so there’s still a large possibility any of those teaching spots could be teacher trainer spots.

    Almost everyone here in Tonga is a “teacher trainer” even if we were originally nominated as English teaching or anything else. My original nomination was “Business Advising” and I ended up being a full time teacher for the first six months we were in Tonga.

    Also, I know how you feel. We didn’t get our invitation until the 22nd or the 23rd, and I was really biting my nails! Most people I’ve talked to who got invited in August were around those dates too, but I do have one friend who wasn’t invited until the beginning of September. So you still have hope. You’re at the last stage, so they’re really trying to get you “in”!

    Hope you hear soon!


    • kylenemichele Says:

      Thanks for the post, Elena. I didn’t expect you’d have much more information, but it’s good to know that some of the positions there involve teacher training even if the titles may not advertise it! In looking at the description of work areas in Samoa, I just don’t think I’m qualified (special ed and technology mostly) so I’m crossing my fingers for Tonga … though I’d obviously go wherever they want to send me!

  2. Crystal Says:

    I understand your fears completely. On the bus back from NY today, where I had my interview, I started to feel a little sad about all that I will be leaving behind, too.

  3. Lauren Says:

    Hi Kylene,
    I’ve just been reading your blog, and my husband and I are going through the same thing! Nominated to teach in the Pacific Islands/October, my husband is trying to decide if he should renew his contract with the company he’s with, our file is on a Specialist’s desk (we were also told “by the end of August” so trying not to look at the 24th as the deadline), and we’re just waiting for that phone call… I’d be lying if I said I haven’t experienced almost every emotion possible in the last two weeks! But, like Elena said, many people have been getting their invites right at the deadline. Guess we have nothing to worry about until there’s something to worry about, right? (still trying to convince myself of this) Best of luck to you, maybe we’ll meet in Tonga!

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