50 years ago today, a speech made by President John F. Kennedy at the University of Michigan inspired the idea of the Peace Corps.
Many before me have served and many after will. Maybe because I’ve just returned, but this short two years of experience is now a part of me, and it defines me. I’m never as at eased or as excited than when I speak to one of my own. Autumn, a fellow PC Cameroon volunteer who finished her service the year before me, is also now studying at the LSE. We met up for lunch today and reminisced our experiences for two hours. We miss it so much. In fact, the group of my PC loves miss each other so dearly that a reunion is already at works for New Year’s Eve!
With the 50-year milestone, the Peace Corps and the National Peace Corps Association have a flurry of anniversary activities. As I sifted through different articles online, I also came across some Peace Corps promotional videos. I remember spending a good deal of my time watching these when I was applying. It inspired me, and I am now remembering that powerful feeling. The two years were exciting, scary, exotic, lonely, inspiring, shocking, and all sorts of other roller coaster of emotions. I think it took me until after I left the country to realize how much I really loved it. I can only hope I will love my job again with such fervor.
Now that I’m in a very intense academic environment filled with ambitious achievers. The atmosphere can get quite stressful and it can feel as though everyone around me is constantly on high alert. I have the Peace Corps to thank for the ability to take life as it is and can take a step back, see the beauty of simply being alive, and let the rest be.
Life is calling. How far will you go? For me, that’s 6,688 miles to be exact.