If you spent more than two years living outside the United States, what would make you anxious about returning home?
- Finding housing, a car, where to live
- Seeing/hearing Trump everywhere
- Big grocery stores
- American work culture
- A different me reintegrating into a hometown that hasn’t changed
These were among the responses posted on flipcharts by members of our Peace Corps Moldova volunteer group this past week when we gathered at our “close of service” conference. We discussed everything from writing site reports to preparing ourselves to leave our Moldovan friends and each other.
Volunteers also wrote what they anticipate most about going home:
- Driving on the backroads
- My dog
- Being with my family
- Access to Taco Bell at 2 a.m.
And what they’ll miss most about Moldova:
- My host family
- House wine
- Fresh fruit & veggies
- Waking up to fresh snow
Our three days at a rural conference center outside the capital were emotional. Together we have shared a life-changing experience. Now we will head our separate ways — to graduate school, new jobs, our families. The conference helped us make sense of what we have experienced and what lies ahead.
“As soon as I’m no longer a PCV,” one question asked, “I can’t wait to”:
- Take a bath
- Hold new nieces and nephews
- Not check in/out
- Go backpacking with my brothers
And the members of Moldova 31 also said what makes them most proud of their service as Peace Corps Volunteers:
- Our students’ improvement
- Community impact
- Surviving rutiera (minibus) rides on hot summer days
- Language learning
- Seeing the youth gain a more positive impact on their futures
Two months remain until the departures begin. Champa and I are in the first group, which leaves on July 3. We still have so much to do until then. We are dreaming of reuniting with our family and friends back home — and dreading saying goodbye to Moldova.