Plans Be A Changing

I can honestly say that right now, at this very moment I’m not where I thought I would be. I am at my parents place recovering from a major shoulder surgery, watching the NBA Finals and America Ninja Warrior with my dog Maverick snoring next to me. Where I should be is at my permanent site in Ukraine doing Community Economic Development with the Peace Corps. Due to circumstances beyond my control I have been medically separated from my service in the Peace Corps due to my shoulder injury sustained in Ukraine. Am I sad? Absolutely! Am I going to let this situation keep me down? No way!

My family, friends and myself put a lot of time, energy and effort into getting me ready for Peace Corps service and for that I want to thank everyone who helped me and I am sorry that I was not able to complete my service. It’s life after all but a new plan is starting to take shape and updates on that will be coming up shortly. All I can say for now is that whats next is very exciting! As my parents say, “Everything happens for a reason!”

For now, I am recovering from surgery. It is going very slowly but it is going good. I have my good days and my bad days but that is to be expected. I look forward to a great snowboarding season once I am fully recovered, in 4 more months.

To my fellow 49ers: do great, have fun, make a difference and learn something!

10

Anybody who knows me knows that 10 is my favorite number. I always play it in roulette, I always wear it when I play sports and it always cheers me up when it randomly shows up in my life. Why is 10 such a big deal to me and why am I writing about it? I will explain…

First, why I am writing about 10. Today marks exactly 10 days until I depart Miami and head to Ukraine to start my 27 month journey as a Peace Corps Volunteer doing Community Economic Development. 10 days out, its crazy! I remember being 60+ days out not long ago but it is creeping up quick. I am excited, very excited but also it is starting to hit me how long I am going to be gone. I have been gone for a long time before; when I studied abroad in Australia and even when I did my internship at Disney World but neither had a length of time that sits in front of me. The funny thing about the length is the fact that I am going to add 2-3 months on top of my service to backpack through every country in Continental Europe before I come back. I am even going to hit up Africa with a stop in Morocco.

Next, why is 10 such a big deal to me? Many reasons! I was born in October and October is the 10th month of the year, only seems natural, right?! In an interesting coincidence I was also born at “10”:11pm. Yes, I know it is weird, but it is just another way of showing 10 in my life. Being born at 10:10 would have been better but that is my fault, I mistimed my entrance into the world. In soccer, my favorite sport, the best player on the team usually wears 10, and so I always wanted to wear that number. Whether it was true or not that I was the best player on the field, I believed it and I wanted to wear 10. Usually did and still do to this day.

I hope this explained a little bit about why 10 means so much to me. 10 days out from a 30 month adventure. Let’s get it…

Questions

So, ever since I have made the announcement to my friends and family that I am going into the Peace Corps I have been asked many, many questions. The questions have been all over the map and some have been funny, some serious and some outrageous. Nonetheless, I am going to answer a few of them right now:

What is the Peace Corps?

  • The Peace Corps was established by President John F. Kennedy on March 1st, 1961. The Peace Corps sends Americans abroad to tackle the most pressing needs of people around the world. Peace Corps Volunteers work at the grassroots level toward sustainable change that lives on long after their service—at the same time becoming global citizens and serving their country.
  • The Peace Corps’ mission is to, “Promote world peace and friendship by fulfilling three goals.” These three goals are:
    • To help the people of interested countries in meeting their need for trained men and women.
    • To help promote a better understanding of Americans on the part of the peoples served.
    • To help promote a better understanding of other peoples on the part of Americans.
  • While the goals have never changed since the beginning of the Peace Corps, the way in which the goals are achieved has evolved over time. Since 1961 over 220,000 Americans have answered the call to serve in 140 countries. In 2014 the application process changed and there has been a sharp increase in applications. The Peace Corps is more competitive and popular then ever!

Why serve in the Peace Corps?

  • The simple answer to this question is that I want to serve and this is my way to do so. I come from a military family (Air Force) and it has always been a dream of mine and in my blood to serve my country in some way. I am not really built for the military but I am built to serve. With my unique skill set, personal background, desire to travel and education the Peace Corps seemed like a great fit. By serving in the Peace Corps I hope to have an impact that will last way past my time in service. However, I truly believe I will get at least as much out of serving if not more then what I put in.

What is going to be the hardest part?

  • There are many answers to this question, but anybody who knows me knows that I love to wear shorts and I have been joking around with friends and family that having to dress more formal and to have to wear pants more is gong to be the hardest part of being in Ukraine for me. While it is going to be hard it will not be the hardest part. There will be lots of challenges for me: the weather, the culture difference, the language barrier, the distance, the lack of modern amenities and many, many other things but no matter what challenges I face I will be able to adapt and overcome! After all the Peace Corps is, “The Toughest Job You’ll Ever Love!”

What are you looking forward to?

  • There are so many things I am looking forward to! I am looking forward to trying new food and seeing new things. I am looking forward to meeting new people and growing as a person both socially and professionally. I am looking forward to networking and the possibility of working with the Ukrainian Government and various NGO’s. The possibilities are endless and that excites me very much! Also, I am looking forward to not driving for awhile, especially on I40 and I am looking forward to not dealing with Time Warner Cable. It’s the little things, ya know?! If I had to put it in one sentence though, I am looking forward to a change of pace.

Why Ukraine?

  • I wish I could describe the looks I get when I tell people I am going to Ukraine. I tell people I am going into the Peace Corps and everyone is so excited and then they ask where I am going, thinking that it is probably going to be somewhere in Africa (most people seem to think that this is where everyone goes in the Peace Corps) and I answer with Ukraine. The next word I hear is, “why?!” Ukraine is definitely a different country to go to for Peace Corps service but the people and country of Ukraine have asked for help, and I want to go and I want to help them. The more I read about Ukraine the more excited I get for going there. It is a beautiful country, with amazing people and it will become my home, a home I probably won’t want to leave. Why Ukraine? Why not??!!

There are many more questions I could put on here but these are the most asked ones. I will try to answer more in future posts. I am sure more questions will also arise as service goes on and I will be happy to answer them as well. For now, I am 14 days away from staging in Miami and I believe that I finally have enough pants for Ukraine. Maybe…