Peace Corps Update

I value transparency. Anyone who knows me knows that I seldom hide from the difficult questions and respect the pointed response of an honest answer. For the sake of transparency I wanted to share an update on my Peace Corps application and on my future plans in general. I purposely chose a title that was neutral in order to draw you into this conversation, so definitely feel free to call me out on it.

So to preface my story–I want to show rather than tell–we need to go back to this past summer while I was teacher the P2P program. I was up in Boston when I was told that my dad’s car was hit by another vehicle on his way to work. Thankfully the crash was at low speed, but it was a T-bone to the driver’s side front tire. Now my dad felt fine at the time, if not a bit shaken up; but as it turns out the injuries were much more extensive that anyone knew. It turned out that he fractured and broken a couple vertebrae, tore up his knee, and starting the ball rolling on further complications.  Since that day, he has been in and out of the ER for a variety of reasons and even claims to know the ER staff by name.

All of this really climaxed a couple weeks ago when my dad was admitted to the ER for incoherence due to unknown reasons. We had no clue what was going on and no idea of what would happen. He was in the hospital for the better part of a week getting tests and treatments. I won’t say much more here, but let’s just say that it was a serious situation. At this point my future was more uncertain than ever before.

Permit me to just dwell here for just a moment. Imagine, I went from feeling that my next two years were completely settled and planned to being tossed into the maelstrom of uncertainty and cluelessness. Whereas I used had been able to tell people about my hopes, dreams, and fears for my future in Africa, now I could only muster a vague anxiety for the big question mark that become my horizon. This was a strange time for me to deal with everything, especially considering the gravity of the choices being considered.

Eventually I was able to sit down with my parents and talk through what my responsibilities needed to be, and what the future for all of us might look like. Although we didn’t come to any definitely conclusions per se, it did solidify one thing in my mind. Going to the Peace Corps for two years would require a blind disregard for the family that raised me and the brother I care so much about. There is little doubt that my parents and brother will need me to help out in the near future, but how I could possibility help out from continents away? The answer: there is simply no way.

Ever since I came to that conclusion I have struggled with how to publicize the information. I have spoken to a few of you about this already, but it has required the sort of energy that I don’t have. Instead I hope this helps in sharing the pertinent with all those I love.

So what does my future hold? Since I have missed the application deadline for some of the graduate programs I would like to apply to, I will be taking either a semester or a year off depending on how everything goes. There is a strong possibility that I will live at the farm and work on fixing it up after graduation. After that, UMass Amherst is certainly a possibly for a variety of physical science or environmental degrees while commuting from the farm. All of this is speculation at this point, except for the farm part I suppose. I really want to be able to work on it and I have so many plans that I want to make a reality there. Moving forward we’ll just have to see where things go since no one has all that much control over it.

We shall not yield to that which is unyielding,

and we shall not curse that which is inevitable.

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