In addition to reflecting on our two years of service, tying up loose ends, and beginning the administrative process of leaving the country, the Close of Service conference is also a time to prepare our plans for the future. Dan and I, like all of the other volunteers from our training group, have begun to think about where we want to go from here. We've started to pick through a broad pool of shifting ideas, laying things out and untangling our options. It's been daunting and exciting.
I feel like this period is the calm before the storm. Soon, we'll be awash with applications, interviews, and despedidas (goodbyes). In a way, we are in the eye of the hurricane; caught between the brunt of our Peace Corps service and the whirlwind experience of packing up, moving, and starting over in the States.
We do have a plan for the next couple of months, and some hopes for the next couple of years. I'll put these out on the table for those who are curious:
COS (Close of Service) Date: Friday, November 22, 2013
Post-Peace Corps Travel Plans: Travel in South Africa
Return to the United States: Wednesday, December 11, 2013
Lisa's Career Plans: Take advantage of the US Government's Non-Competitive Eligibility to find a job with the National Park Service (Temporary: January - September 2014)
Dan's Career Plans: Travel with Lisa and teach online for Penn State University (Temporary: January - September 2014)
Start a family: January 2014 - Future
Start PhD program in Statistics (Dan): September 2014
Continue teaching (Lisa): September 2014
Live abroad with growing family
And though it's nice to plan ahead, you can never really know how things will actually unfold. If you would me five years ago that I would end up in Africa, I would have been very surprised. If you told me that I would sell my car, fly across the ocean, and dedicate myself to teaching at a Mozambican public school, I'm not sure that I would have believed that I was capable. But now I call this place my home, and my students call me "Teacher."
So while Dan and I are bracing for the changes that are coming, we are also looking forward many happy surprises in the next couple of years.