This blog has more or less become a rough guide to my Peace Corps experience. My transition from the States to Albania and back again. When I left for the Peace Corps, I was consumed by what I should bring with me, what I would be doing as a Volunteer, where I would live and what my community would be like and now the most important things to me are the memories and trinkets stuffed in the small bag I returned with. I arrived in Albania as an American meeting others, after a while I became a Volunteer meeting a community, and a human meeting other humans – united with the people I served. I set out to accomplish the three goals of the Peace Corps: to help the people of interested communities meet their need for trained men and women, to help promote a better understanding of Americans on the part of the peoples served, and to help promote a better understanding of peoples served on the part of Americans. After a few months in Lezhë I gave up measuring my successes with results and instead learned to serve my community in whatever way I could, in whatever way they needed me. And in doing so, I changed the lives of others and myself. Lezhëjans are my family now, and I’m changed for the better because of them. I’ve left what had become my home; my routines, behaviors, and life are based off of experiences in Albania. I’ve been back for three days, and I’m about to embark on a new adventure; my transition back to a life of anonymity, out of the spotlight of being the only foreigner in town.
For a part of the world I knew nothing about, Albania and the Balkans have now become my home. This experience will stick with me for the rest of my life, and I am grateful.