Learning two languages is something I knew would be challenging, but I didn’t envision it to be challenging in the way it was today. For everyone out there that was an ESL student, I give you my FULL AND COMPLETE appreciation for what you have done. I can’t even imagine how challenging it was at times because your environment wasn’t their to hold your hand every step of the way.
I am learning Macedonian and Albanian, both challenging for me in different ways. I am having a hard time during my third week of language class to make the separation between the two different languages.
Albanian is coming easier for me because I am surrounded by it constantly at home. Macedonian is proven to be more challenging because I do not get to practice it at home with my family.
I felt really overwhelmed today when I finished school. We had back-to-back school from 8am to 4pm. (I don’t know how I did it in high school). One of the COSing (Close of Service) volunteers talked about her experiences in the classroom. Her experiences were absolutely amazing. I did not feel like I could fill her shoes with everything she accomplished in 2 years of service.
I got home and I had a sinking feeling. I started to doubt why I am here and if I had the capability to do this.
Then, I realized, I need to go on a run. Running has always been there for me. Through thick and thin I can always turn to my two legs. It is therapeutic. It allows me to take a step back and really understand what I am feeling and why.
I run to the top of the highest hill in my village. This path is to the Monastery. How fitting, this location has already been my sanctuary these past two weeks when I have needed to process everything. 10 minutes into the run I stop. I just stop and look at my surroundings.
I am in Macedonia. I am here for 27 months. I am committed and the feelings I am going through are completely normal and healthy. I am also going on a journey that is challenging. Dual-Lanuage is not apart of everyone’s service or even offered in many Peace Corps placements.
I continue running and I think of all the people in my life and how they are going on with their lives.
Then, I run on a small cattle/sheep trail. I become numb for about 10 minutes. All I do is listen to my breathing. This is why I run. Nothing matters when I am running. I realize that I am truly living, that’s all that matters. Nothing lasts forever. So, I run.
Then, it hits me. How did my ESL friends do this? How did they endure learning in a non-native language? I know I am only a couple weeks into my service, but slowly, very slowly I am seeing that I am never going to see the world the same. My perspective on life is going to be different.
I came to a conclusion on my run. I have two goals in the Peace Corps right now: to gain friendships, and to promote happiness (this is my version of Peace). I am doing this everyday with my host family, my small village, and even back home.
Everyday is a roller coaster. I have nto hit my low, but rather starting to really comprehend that I am in this country for a bit.