I never wrote the milestone one year entry– the blog post in which the PCV reflects on how much s/he has learned and changed since that first day in country X. Somehow the year anniversary snuck by me without bringing a well-timed epiphany or intense need to reflect. In fact, now I find myself at the two year mark, and I still have difficulty capturing all the ways this experience has changed me. But I have been thinking about it a bit, ever since my sister visited and told me one way– after I argued with someone over 500 USh (25 cents), she said, “You’re not as nice as you used to be.”
One of the things I remember quite well from my arrival in Uganda was meeting the second-year volunteers. They seemed so comfortable and all-knowing. They had stories. They joked about their parasites. They had tons of hints and experiences to share. On Monday, I went to train the newest incoming class of volunteers and realized that I have become that seasoned second-year, complete with the comfortable confidence and a suspected case of amoebas. Funny, though. I’m anything but sure. I think I have just found a certain comfort in not knowing. You could say it’s a tolerance for ambiguity. Yes, I am curious, but also have a certain patience with the unknown.
A former PCV once said that when he got home to America after his service, he always struggled to answer the question, “So how was it?” in a meaningful, honest way before the person asking lost interest. After some time, he settled on an answer: “It was transformational.”
As I begin considering what’s next myself– though I still have plenty of time (October is my new finish date)– I have a feeling this word, transformational, just might fit.