Monday, August 20, 2012

The Blue Folder Anniversary

Riding on a bus in Savai'i last year.
Although it’s already August 21st in Samoa, in Michigan, where I was three years ago today, it’s still August 20th, and August 20, 2009 will be a day I remember for years to come. Perhaps the thing that stands out most from that day is the blue folder which held so may details of my future. It was a blue folder from Peace Corps, sent by Fed-Ex and opened by me shortly after 4p.m. that day. On the cover it read, “Peace Corps Invites You to Serve.”

I was sitting on the couch with my mom nearby. I remember holding it for a couple minutes before I worked up the courage to open the Velcro flap, but once I did, the first thing that caught my eye was the word “Samoa,” highlighted in yellow. I remember being surprised, because for several weeks before that day I knew I was going to the South Pacific region, and I had read over all the programs and based on what I knew from my recruiter, I thought I was headed to Vanuatu! But heck, Vanuatu, Samoa, where were either of them anyways?

Shortly after opening the folder, I headed for a map to pinpoint exactly where the next years of my life would unfold. Sure enough, it was in the South Pacific, a long ways from Michigan, and a long ways from anywhere!! I remember calling my sister, friends and other family. I even remember what I ate that night—sweet corn and tacos. It’s all vivid in my mind like yesterday.

Little did I know that day, that there were already people here in this country who would become like family to me, like brothers, best friends. I had yet to meet anyone of them, but on that day, our paths were charted towards each other, and the word Samoa became a part of my life.

It’s amazing what has happened in the three years since that day! I could never have guessed back then that I would go and have an amazing Peace Corps service, return home and then come back to Samoa for an additional eight months! That’s where this all finds me today, reflecting on the past and all that I’ve had the opportunity to do, all those I’ve had the opportunity to be with and learn from.

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