Tuesday, November 16, 2010

A Day Of Memory

When I was 14 (longer ago than I care to admit!), I travelled to Australia with an organization called People To People.  It was my first dive into real travel, and I was HOOKED.  It also ended up being a life-altering experience, but not until the ride home.

It was the plane ride home that essentially made the difference.  Sitting next to me on that long flight was a woman returning from the Peace Corps.  She had this...aura about her.  Peace, calm, worldliness.  Instant crush.  She told me where she had been, how it affected her, etc.  I actually don't remember most of the details, but I was in awe.  Absolute awe.

That was the day a dream was born.  I was going to join the Peace Corps.  When I went to college, I studied International Studies, and as soon as I could, got myself accepted to "the toughest job you'll ever love." 

9 years ago today, I left that job.  I had a nervous breakdown, cried for 2 weeks straight, and when I went to see my "boss", she made the mistake of saying, "Do you want to go home?"  Umm, YEAH!  In hindsight, if they had gotten me therapy, in-country, I could have made it.  I LOVED living there.  It was my every dream come true, the life I had dreamed of.  The job - not so much.  But I know WHY now. 

Regardless, of the whys or anything, it was, hands down, the most difficult decision I have ever made.  It is also perhaps the one thing in life I truly regret.  It took me YEARS to be able to discuss it.  A while back I posted a song that, for me, is a reminder.  I may repost it tomorrow, along with the poem I wrote.  The one and only poem.  I'm not a poet, LOL.

So much of who I am, of my dreams, hopes, EVERYTHING, is based on that time.  That very small 6 months of my life oh, so long ago.  I swore I would go back.  Hasn't happened.  But I hold onto that time for dear life.  Nothing will ever compare.  And very few decisions will match up to the one that led to me giving up my dream and facing reality.  The pain, the despair I have felt with IF are very similar to the pain and the meltdowns I went through following my return to the States.  It was the first time I ever really felt I had lost something I had fought for.  The first time I felt like a failure. 

Today, the 16th of November, will always be that day for me.  Over time, it has gotten easier.  But it will never go away.  It will always be a part of me.  Namibia, Africa, will always be a part of me.  Forever.  Just like IF.  I don't have pictures I can show you right now, but maybe some day....

Maybe some day I will go back....


  1. Wow, I had no idea that you joined the PC. I hope one day you can share the beautiful parts that you loved about it with us.

  2. Oh Genevieve, that must have been so hard to go through. Thank you for sharing this little bit of it with us.

  3. This is an amazing story and I would love to see pictures when you're ready. I'm so sorry you had to give up on this dream, but it's wonderful that another dream is on its way for you!!

  4. Beautiful post!!

    Isn't it amazing how life takes us on these rides. It's so important to cherish the moments we have that bring us joy, but also cherish those hard-fought, painful moments that define us in some monumental way.

    November 16th is a doozy for me too.

  5. The hardest moments we journey through, no matter how long ago they were, continue to shape us for the rest of our lives. I had a similar experience with my chosen career path, and my time of recovery after the burnout I went through, made me the person I am now. It doesn't make remembering that time any easier, but it does make it worthwhile.

    Thank you for sharing this part of who you are with us.

  6. My coworker went with People to People to Australia when she was 14, about 15 years ago. I wonder if y'all went together :-P

    What an awesome experience, to get to go to Namibia and do something so meaningful! I'm glad you're able to commemorate it each year.

  7. That must be a beautiful part of your life! I hope you can tell more about it. Thanks for sharing.

  8. Would love to hear more about your time there, it sounds amazing!

  9. You had a fantastic experience. Now you have moved on to different things. The feeling that it was a great time and that you want to go back and do it again will never still change but other things will take over. You know, I still think I should have been a medical doctor. I did chemistry instead and while doing chemistry I became a volunteer paramedic. I knew then I could have been a doctor. I thought I would do medicine after my degree. I didn't. I thought I would do medicine after my PhD. I didn't. There is this subtle, constant feeling that my life should have taken a different path. But then I would not have had what I know for sure I have now. Much love, Fran

  10. Wow, next time you go take me with you, sounds amazing.


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