First Year Superlatives

Wow. Ive been here for over a year. How did that happen?

I could give a million excuses for not writing here, but how about I just promise to start posting more?

What better way to kick off this new momentum than with some first year superlatives:

Most Memorable First: Bee keeping

You know that one Darius Rucker song? No, not Wagon Wheel. (not actually his song) I’m talking about the one that goes, “When was the last time you did something for the first time?” Still no? Don’t know Darius Rucker? Not a country music fan? Well… what I’m trying to say is my time here has been saturated with firsts. Everything from cutting the grass with a scythe and stoking a fire in a wood burning stove to stay warm to gargling home made liquor to get rid of a sore on my tongue. Everyday is filled with new experiences and new feelings. Sometimes they are small and other times they are huge. However, there can only be one winner for most memorable first, and that award goes to bee keeping. I not only got to work with a local bee keeping pair through the summer and learn so much from them, but I also got to see the traditional way that my host mom’s brother collects the bees for his bee farm.

learning about how the bees are collected
learning about how the bees are collected

Most Rewarding: Camp GLOW

Girls Leading Our World. Man oh man more than an entire post could be dedicated to just these 9 days of my life. Being a part of GLOW and watching 80 young women grow and learn through a week of leadership, empowerment, and love has been the most impactful experience of my service so far.

my incredible group of campers and me feeling proud to be ~different

Most Thankful: Tetka Blagica

I’m so extraordinarily thankful for the community I have built here: my amazing little village and all my baba and dedo friends, my colleagues turned “friends my age”, my training host family turned forever family, my students, and some phenomenal volunteers. The people in my life have impacted me greatly, but Tetka Blagica – best friend, host mom, super woman – is what I’m most thankful for. This woman has been so incredible and I do not know where I would be in this journey without her. She welcomed me into her family, and her family took me on as one of their own. We laugh together every day and she truly is like another mom to me.

My Tetka B

Funniest Moment: Being mistaken for Tetka Blagica’s granddaughter.

Aside from that one time I wore my village slippers to Malta? (a story for another day) The time an old man in the village was convinced I was my host mom’s 12-year-old granddaughter and got very upset with me for drinking wine was truly hilarious. It is not appropriate for 12-year-olds to drink wine folks! To his defense though, we do look rather similar…

Andrea, Tetka Blagica’s granddaughter, and me enjoying some eclairs

Lowest Moment…kind of: The death of my pet bunny.

Maybe I should rename this one to my most palpable low or the low that’s most easy to find words for. Being a Peace Corps volunteer is incredibly difficult. It’s a whole new world of emotions and feelings that are not only hard to explain, but I’m unsure if they are easily relatable unless you are or have been a Peace Corps Volunteer. Because of this, volunteers have this unspoken connection and the support network is vast. I have had many emotional hardships, but throughout my service I have found solace in furry friends. However, fur babies don’t seem to live too long in my village. It’s a hard life out here for animals too, and losing fur babies feels like losing friends in a way.

My baby Памукче // Pamukche (little cotton)

Sweetest Moment(s): Every time I go to and leave the boarding home

I had to make this one a plural because it happens weekly, but the internat. The internat is a sort of student dorm next to my school where around 10 of my students live throughout the week and go home on the weekends. I go and hang out there after school until dinner time once or twice a week. Every time I arrive, I am nearly knocked over with bear hugs from running children, and every time I leave I am almost forced to stay by the sheer weight of a group hug that leans more towards a tackle. I am always leaving the internat with more love in my heart than I came with.

a few of my beautiful students who live at the internat

Biggest Takeaway: Relationships rock

Building relationships with people in this unconventional way has been truly humbling. I feel like I’ve been impacted more than I have impacted.

but I think life always kind of feels like that.


5 thoughts on “First Year Superlatives

  1. What awesome experiences, thus far….. A year? No way! It seems just like yesterday we were celebrating at your grandma’s house for your upcoming departure. We all miss you and love you, dearly. Please continue to share your experiences with all of us! Hugs and kisses from Indiana!


  2. Mary Mulder

    ❤️ Thank you for such an eloquent glimpse into your vast new world! Oh how I miss you but you are exactly where you are supposed to be. Your gifts are meant to be shared. Keep writing!


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