Well, I'm not quite sure how to start this post so I guess I'll just come right out and say it. As of this week, I am no longer a Peace Corps volunteer. I've decided to leave Mozambique and not finish my two years of service. Why did I decide to leave? The short answer is this: I wasn't happy and I decided I wanted to try and be happy.
This was not a decision I made lightly and was the product of many conversations, emails, journal entries, and prayers. It was an incredibly hard decision to make. On the one hand I knew I didn't want to be in Mozambique anymore. I wasn't excited about the year ahead and found myself wanting the school year to start just so it could be over sooner and I could go home. On the other hand I felt like I had responsibilities that I couldn't simply walk away from. My school was counting on me to teach for them for another year. I had a community library program to develop. There were people in Zobue counting on me being there for another year. So for the last month (probably more like 4 months) I've been stuck. One minute I would think, I need to leave. I'm not happy and I'm not going to be a good volunteer, friend, or neighbor. And then literally the next minute I would think, no I can't leave. It's only 10 more months. I can do it. And then the next minute I would be back to leaving again. I was stuck.
Last week the back and forth finally came to a head. I emailed my parents, sister, and friends from home asking for advice--should I leave or should I stay? I also talked to a counselor while we were in Maputo for our mid-service conference. Almost everyone had the same answer. Do what makes you happy. Don't think about what you think you should do, think about what you want to do. Ten months of misery isn't worth it. Take care of yourself first.
I took a few days to decide, but in the end I chose to leave. I missed feeling happy and wanted to try and be happy again. I am sorry to be leaving before finishing my commitment to Peace Corps and to my village, but I know it was the right decision. I have felt such a sense of peace and relief since I made the decision and I have felt happier than I have in a long time. It was hard to say goodbye to all my friends and colleagues and especially difficult to explain to people in Zobue why I was leaving, but through it all I knew it was for the best.
On Tuesday I fly to Berlin to visit some friends and then have no idea what the future holds. I'd like to stay in Europe for a few months and do some travelling, but I'm open to anything that comes my way. I'm excited to see what happens.
If you have any questions please feel free to email me and I will do my best to respond. I don't really know how much internet access I'll have, but I'm guessing if I had internet in my rural village in Mozambique, I'll probably have it in Western Europe. :)