About a month ago I faced something terrible…and the month before that as well. My service has been filled with pain and fear. I felt emotions I didn’t know where possible and all in a foreign country that I thought was my home.

I apologize I haven’t blogged in a long time. There have been many events that have unfolded this spring that I needed time to process and understand.

Today, for the first time in over a month I went on a 5 mile run confidently by myself. Last night I walked home from one of my student actor’s houses through the dark.

The good news is I am safe and recovering in a wonderful and spiffy apartment across from the Green Pazar in Tetovo. I commute to work everyday and am involved in the American Corner (thank you American tax dollars) where I have an adult English class, Pippi Longstocking play practices, and GLOW club meetings.

This semester I have been focusing on teaching with each of my teachers for a full month will full month plans with goals, quizzes, tests, and different forms of assessment. I am currently on my fourth teacher at the “other” village school.

My school has successfully implemented the SPA Grant “from the American people” where this wonderful Technology Room is used by all the teachers trained with the technology. This like-smartboard gives students and teachers a different tool they can use that will engage students on a different level.

Two weeks ago, my students and community put on a school’s name day celebration that had the X-Factor, Name Day Celebration, SPA Technology Room, and a cocktail party. My Peace Corps director came with some other staff to show their support.

Besides all these amazing things go on around me, I have endured quiet a lot. I can’t go into details, nor do I want to full describe what happened to me.

Here is a poem written over a month ago about one of my experiences:


Tears run down my cheeks

Blurring my vision

The pain in my heart

The world keeps moving

I stare out into the cruel world

When will old “me” return?

Where is my hope and love?

A waterfall of angry

Confusion over what happened.

Nobody could ever prepare me

For what I have experienced and endured

I try all the coping mechanism

But I can’t find any that work

I close my eyes and wonder:

Will I be stronger or weaker

Because of all of this?

Will I ever trust a stranger?

Will I ever smile again?

Ignorance is not bliss

Ignorance is peace of mind

Knowing is painful and harmful

Can I move beyond this?

Can I have the courage to stand tall?

I look behind me constantly

Is there someone following me?

I am paranoid, paranoid of everyone

Is trust even possible?

This is not what I imagined it would be.

Tears in my soul

Tears in my eyes

Tears in every step I take

Please, hold my hand

And take me out of this place.

I have improved greatly since the situations I endured, but I thought showing the pain through poetry gives the experience a life of its own.

I am proud of myself. I am not proud of everything I have tried and worked on in the peace corps. I am proud of myself for waking up everyday and trying to improve and grow. I am proud of myself for trying to recover and become the person I know I can be.

Recently, I took an amazing trip to Turkey. This trip seemed to come at the perfect time.

Here I am with the beautiful scenery in Cappadocia:


Here is my travel buddy and I:


The beautiful sunset with the wonderful rock formations and the hot air ballons:IMG_6615

We met this guy that lived in this rock cave…sooooo cool!


Me with the beautiful rock formations hiking.


Early sunrise, worth it for the hot air balloon:

IMG_6662 IMG_6671

Flying in the sky seemed like a dream!

IMG_6683 IMG_6689 IMG_6700

In the Blue Mosque in Turkey:


Even outside of the mosque was BEAUTIFUL!

IMG_6730 IMG_6737

The Grand Pazar and Spice Market were really hectic places

IMG_6765 IMG_6766 IMG_6767

The Bosporus was wonderful to chill on

IMG_6768  IMG_6801 IMG_6806

We walked around Fatih, the conservative neighborhood of Istanbul and ended on top of the wall…IMG_6793

We saw this colorful staircase and couldn’t resist. IMG_6830

Taoism the most classy part of Istanbul


Besides my wonderful trip to Turkey I have been enjoying a lot of other things.

My amazing two old host sisters Alba and Fjolla went exploring with me one wonderful Saturday:


My wonderful GLOW Club gave positive quotes, chocolates and roses to women on International Women’s Day


I went on a camping trip to Lake Matka and got these beautiful views for two days:IMG_6344 IMG_6349

I was able to celebrate Easter with Jake’s wonderful Host family and was able to light a candle for the occasion:IMG_6500

Beautiful Kratovo in the spring:


The Resource Technology Room lab is now in full use and successful!IMG_6585

Happy summer holidays to everyone! Congrats to all my family and friends for graduating this year!

Keep me in your thoughts and prayers as I continue using my courage in my last 7 months of service.


2 thoughts on “Courage

  1. So sorry to hear that you have had much to endure. I will be praying for you in the months to come. Love and light to you,
    Grace (sharritt) Kozak

  2. You have lots of people that love and care about you in this world. I’m proud of you for serving with the Peace Corps. Good luck these last 7 months.

    Those are some very impressive sights! I’m glad for you to get to see so much of the world!

    Come for a stay at Ole Miss when you get back. I’d love to see you and show you around Oxford, MS!

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