It is crazy just how lost I became in this week. Coming in from Moldova, I had a plan to structure each one of my days around the trainings and knowledge I could extract from each topic. I wanted to meet as many participants as possible and discover their skill sets.
Something special happened. I found myself getting lost in the fellow trainees and rhythm of each session. It was therapeutic yet very heavy to step back into the past, to expose my inner fears and shame to strangers, to uncover the dark moments, to experience childhood again, and to hear the stories of other guests. I chose the reality I created for myself at the event and at times it was painful to think about.
In the “real world” I get very caught up in day-to-day assignments, email threads, and goals in my career, so to step back and remember that I am human may not have felt at all times comfortable, but was indeed needed.
We Are All Made of Stories allowed me to meet an electric and unfiltered personality from Albania, to understand the contrasts of Serbian language across Bosnia, Macedonia, and the other Balkan states, to dive deeper inside the issues facing Ukraine, to learn basic French, to hear an incredible life story of a man from Czech Republic, to forge a strong bond with a Slovakian screenwriter, to witness a Latvian man create a business model and vision for his nation, to joyfully speak Romanian with Romanians, and to enjoy a full body massage from a warmhearted Russian girl.
With one day remaining in Latvia I foresee the next steps coming ahead with added motivation and clarity. I will head back to site in Moldova to complete three months of Peace Corps service with renewed focus. My aims are to put together a great skills enhancement training for volunteers and Moldovans on June 7th, to complete a city economic development plan for my community, and to enjoy the warm days ahead in Leova with local friends.
This opportunity has allowed me to realize that I still have room to grow and mature. I have also acknowledged that friends can be made anywhere, at any time, and for any duration. I know that I will not have the opportunity to see a lot of these faces again, but I will always remember how special Lacites was for me, in this space, in this time.