In Between

Saying goodbye to Albania was unreal. To be honest, it still doesn’t feel real. Leaving Peace Corps and leaving Albania was much harder than leaving America. I think it is because of the unknown. It’s difficult to say when I will be able to return to Albania because of school, money, and life in general. I can’t deny, however, that more than anything right now I wish I was still there. There hasn’t been a day that has gone by that I haven’t thought about Peace Corps and about Albania. Peace Corps told us that reintegration would be rough, but my reintegration hasn’t even really started yet and I’m already all mixed up.

Most of you know by now that I have started traveling across Europe by myself before I head back to the states. Don’t get me wrong, traveling is great and I’m incredibly lucky to have this opportunity, but it is still challenging. This is my first time traveling solo and there are definitely pros and cons. I just miss having my travel buddy Quinn around to share the experiences with me, but luckily I have met a bunch of cool people along the way.

I’m in limbo at the moment. Traveling and taking in new experiences. Trying to process where I have been vs. where I am going. How will my life these past two years shape me into who I am going to be. It’s such a strange feeling.

Giving up everything that you’ve worked for is exhausting. It’s weird not knowing the direction that the new volunteers will want to take the projects I poured my heart into. Recently, one of new volunteer in my city told me that the girls at the youth center said I was their role model when they were having a discussion about leaders. It made me cry. I wished that I could have been there to do GLOW camp with them again and to continue to build on the activities that we’ve started. But I’m not, so now what?

I am trying to soak up this lifestyle of having no obligations, no responsibilities, the freedom to do whatever I want and go wherever I want. Even though I am sad, I am also trying to be optimistic. I am on vacation, so I better try to enjoy it at least. Everything will work out in the end and a little piece of Albania has changed and a little piece of me has changed too.

Just FYI: I started traveling on June 5th and thus far I have been to Ljubljana, Bled, Budapest, Prague, Kutna Hora, and now Vienna. Tomorrow I’m off to Salzburg.

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2 thoughts on “In Between

  1. The one thing that is guaranteed in life is change and this is one of many many you will experience darllin’. You will now move on to an exciting and productive new chapter with grad school and then a promising career. We are so proud of you and are looking forward to following your journey.

  2. Very thoughtful words Jill. Well, Albania isn’t going anywhere, next time you do a trip in Europe, make a quick jump in Albania too. I think I read in another post that your boyfriend was in Albania too. Maybe this song https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XWVHDptRDuQ will make a good background for those memories. It’s from a time before Albania would become garbage and chickens everywhere, and would have provided a different set of 50 unique observations.

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