Monday, August 25, 2008

Surprise!

I just found out that Future Foundation will be getting another volunteer in October. Yanko told me this morning, and I actually started tearing up. I'm happy for them. I'm also completely taken by surprise. I feel like the wind has been knocked out of me. I wasn't expecting them to get a volunteer until next May (when the next group comes in), and I figured that I would never even meet this person. Now, the replacement (I feel weird referring to her like that, and she probably wouldn't like it, so I won't from hereon out.) comes next week for site visit. I feel like a rug has been pulled out from under me. This all happened between Friday and now. We hadn't even heard from the Peace Corps, and... yeah. It's sudden is all. I don't want to go on too much because one day she might read this, and I don't want her to get the impression that I'm disappointed or that I don't want her here. It's far from the truth. I'm not thinking about her, necessarily. I'm thinking about me at the moment.
I just talked to Angel, and I gave him this analogy, "It's like I'm pregnant. (Oh, the poor volunteer, but just go with me on this....) I know I'm having a girl, but I don't know who she is yet. I don't know her name or anything about her, but she's going to come into the place where I have loved, hated, laughed, cried - basically had the best and worst experiences of my life. I want so badly for her to like it. I want so badly for her to be okay here - for her to be successful. I'm also scared - to relinquish "my turf," to hand over my experiences - as if I've been some gatekeeper for Rakitovo or something. Well, for the past year or so, I've been the "resident American" in town.
I remember how it felt, years ago, coming into all this whirlwind-chaos and wondering how it would be. I remember. Now I have to shift my attention to feeling this whirlwhind-chaos that is leaving. I honestly haven't given it much thought. I know I'm going back to the states in three months, but I'm not mentally prepared for it. I'm terrified. Having her here will make that even more real. It's not her fault. I hope, one day, if she reads this, she'll understand that it has very little to do with her. It's my own issues. I can't even convey clearly what I'm trying to convey. I feel a bunch of emotions at once, but mostly I feel fear.
Maybe she's scared, too. It's not easy coming in after another volunteer. It's not easy regardless - coming into a new, foreign world and realizing that you'll be living there for the next two years. It's not easy coming into a place that has already had a volunteer. One would think it'd be easier, and it probably is in some ways. That person has already given the organization an idea about what it's like to work with a PCV. However, I'm grateful that I did not follow another volunteer. It would have set my organization up with expectations.
Anyway, this poor girl. I hope she never reads this. Like I said, I don't even know her yet. None of us here do. She doesn't even know yet that she's coming here. This is about me. I'm going to meet her next week, and I'm going to look at her and see trepidatious Apryl from three years ago. Maybe she'll be stronger. Maybe she'll be smarter. I just hope we like each other. Isn't that nuts? I just really hope that we like each other - as if I'm the one who's going to have to be here with her for the next two years. I should be hoping that she and the people at my organization like each other, and I do. I'm sure they will. I have been told that she is perfect for Rakitovo. I have no doubts that she is.
Whew! Flood of emotions... brutal honestly... I want to go crawl into bed.
P.S. I just found out that my official Close of Service (COS) date is November 10. Reality is hitting me hard today.
P.S.S. My boss and I went to the hotel in town today to check out prices for when the new volunteer comes to visit Rakitovo. Yanko told the girl at the hotel that an American was coming. "Oh, nice," said the girl. "And this is the other American," Yanko said, gesturing to me. "Oh, I get it," I said, "from here on out, I'm the 'other American.'" Yanko came and put his arms around me, laughing. "No, no, that's not what I meant."

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