Friday, February 18, 2011

The next placement...

We're on the cusp. At the edge. Once again the next 2 and a half years stretch out before us, with two very different paths to choose from. Our journey through this decision has been revealing on so many levels that I feel like it needs to be shared. We've had to re-examine everything in our lives over the course of the last few months - from our material possessions to our commitment to overseas service to why we want to serve with the Peace Corps specifically.

Our new placement options arrived from Peace Corps (PC) with a heavy dose of frustration and disappointment, dripping with the rigidity and bureaucracy we had been assured weeks earlier in Morocco would not be present this time around. The option (singular) at first was 'Eastern Europe' leaving in 'early June', offering both Ash and I jobs which were not unappealing. After pressing for the promised options (plural), we were told the it was Eastern Europe in June, Southeast Asia in July, or 'Africa' in mid-September. Each with different jobs in different focus areas. We were also given a 48 hour window in which to make a decision which would affect the coming 27 months.

And so began the brain wracking, the internet searching (blogs, PC site, wiki sites, etc), the heart searching, and the weighing of pros and cons. We pretty quickly nixed Africa, mainly due to the fact we would have to wait so long, and that the jobs there were ones neither of us were excited about. Down to Southeast Asia or Eastern Europe (could there be two more different places to choose from?). We deduced that the Eastern Europe country was probably Moldova, and the Asian country; Cambodia (thanks to PC Wiki site!). 

In Moldova we were both excited about our 'jobs' - PC's very vague description of the kind of work you could sort of expect to be doing: Ash would be a Health Education for Schools and Communities Specialist; and I would be a Community and Organizational Development Advisor. The jobs were a huge pro, the place, neither of us were ecstatic about. 

Cambodia held less appealing jobs, however we were definitely interested in the region more. Other factors to consider included the fact that Cambodia is far lower on the Human Development Index, which to us, spoke to the kind of lifestyle and work culture we could expect there (which would probably be closer to Niger than Moldova); Eastern Europe as a whole faces far different challenges than a place like Cambodia; the climates of the two countries couldn't be more different. 

After exhaustively talking through and mulling over these and countless other thoughts, feelings, and inclinations, we were both at an impasse. We both were equally pretty excited about both opportunities, but couldn't bring ourselves to resort to a coin toss to determine the next two years of our lives, which left us frustrated and seeing no real way to garner more information that would give us a strong leading one way or the other. 

So Moldova it is. We made the decision I think based on reasons that we can't fully articulate. But confirmation that it was the decision we were supposed to make came ten minutes after Ash had emailed our Placement Officer in the form of a phone call from him. He said that a new 'job' had just opened for me (everything else, including Ash's job would stay the same) if I wanted it: the opportunity to work in agricultural and small business development. I was blown away and instantly knew that this was exactly what we were supposed to be doing. 

Now, a few hours after the final decision, I'm reflecting on the whole thing and realizing just how much we've learned over the last few days. I feel so blessed to be able to go through this process, this life-planning, huge-decision-making process, with my best friend and soulmate. To be able to come through it, not easily, but better off, excited, and together, is wonderful beyond words. Everything about our new assignment (details will be coming next week) is 100% different than everything we had imagined we would be doing in PC. And yet, we're excited, humbled, and moving forward with the knowledge that it will be exactly what we make it to be. 

Thank you wifey. Thank you family and friends for your perspectives, your thoughts, your prayers, and your support. And cheers to the next chapter!!

Moldova, here we come!

1 comment:

  1. How wonderful to read through your process together on making this big decision, thanks for sharing! Just in quickly thinking, a benefit to being there is the climate is more similar to CO than Africa would be - for your further experience with agriculture. And secondly, you are will be learning Romanian?, I think, and that is a language with so much history and similarities to others. Its ancient too. Kinda nifty! Thanks for sharing! : )