Peace Corps Invitation: Albania

Ask and you shall receive. Not really. Not always. At least if you ask, you stand a better chance of receiving than if you never ask at all. In this particular instance, my question took the form of a statement – less of an ask, more of a tell. I attempted to appear self-assured, matter-of-fact. “I’ll go anywhere but Eastern Europe”. Of all the places I could end up as a Peace Corps Volunteer, Eastern Europe seemed the least appealing. I saw myself living in a mud hut, hunting lions with the Maasai Warriors of Tanzania. Or perhaps, traversing through the Amazon with the Achuar people of Ecuador. Eastern Europe seemed far less magical – cold, grey, mundane. I wanted to be somewhere warm, lively, and inviting. “Given your background and availability, I’m afraid the chances of placing you elsewhere are slim”. My heart sank as I thought, in a moment of particularly violent disappointment,  that I would surely freeze to death. I had not received what I asked for.

My placement interview ended. I pulled up the Peace Corps website, clicked on the “Where Do Volunteers Serve” link, and moved my cursor over Eastern Europe. There, I was presented eleven options. The same options she would be forced to choose from: Albania, Armenia, Azerbaijan, Bulgaria, Georgia, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyz Republic (Kyrgyzstan), Macedonia, Moldova, Romania, and Ukraine. She would deliberate, and ultimately I would be assigned to one of these countries. Disregarding my school work, I scoured the internet for information on Eastern Europe and the Balkans. Albania looks warm, I thought. Actually, in my brief study of the region, I found each country beautiful and unique in its own way. My perception of the region had clearly been mis-perception. Another axiom came to mind: If at first you don’t succeed, try, try again. I followed up with my placement officer by thanking her for her patience, reiterating my willingness to serve wherever I was needed, and asking her to place me in Albania. In the end, my perseverance paid off. I guess I got what I asked for. Not really. But I guess I had not known what I really wanted. I do now, and I couldn’t be more excited.

Albania lies ahead. More specifically, due East. Looking at a map, you can find Albania just across the Adriatic Sea from Italy, and directly north of Greece. The adventure begins 03/18/2013.

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Categories: Uncategorized | 3 Comments

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3 thoughts on “Peace Corps Invitation: Albania

  1. Amber Spencer

    I plan to re-live the PC vicariously through you and Celyse, so I’m very pleased to know that you have a blog set up. I’m so excited for you!!! And don’t forget to scout out my friend Melissa Luna who is a current PCV in Albania. She doesn’t bite… often.

  2. I second everything Amber said. Except for the biting part. I know you will have a blast and I am so looking forward to reading about your life and work in Albania. Sending you lots of positive energy and happy thoughts as you embark on the experience of a lifetime 🙂 !!!

  3. Amber, Victoria…how the hell are ya? Glad to be the source of your vicarious livelihood. I’ll definitely be sure to meet your friend Melissa. Thanks for keeping up with me. I’ll try to check in every now and then.

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