About a year ago, I had just gotten back from my trip to South America and was working on finding sub jobs and not dying of boredom in the frozen tundra of Chicago in winter time. I was just counting down the days until August when I would finally get to leave for Colombia after over a year of waiting. 7 months seemed like forever. Then, I got the email… They had made some changes to the program and pushed the departure date back to January 2016. In other words, I would have to wait an entire year to leave. It was extremely devastating news, especially after having waited so long already.
It’s a weird feeling waiting for something like the Peace Corps because you don’t really want to build anything or get attached to anything in your life in the States since you know you will be leaving soon. I couldn’t get a real teaching job or an apartment or get to work on building my life as a recent graduate, because it just wouldn’t make sense. I basically considered the time leading up to my service as wasted time, a waiting period, and suddenly, an entire year of my life was about to fall into this category. The only way to cope was to prove to myself that this would not be wasted time, that I would fill it with meaningful activities and memories. Here’s just a snapshot of 2015:
I returned to my old elementary school as a bilingual reading support associate and proved that 2 Schiltz women are better than 1.
I trained for and ran my first half marathon.
I spent what could be my last summer in Madison, rooming with a dear friend, biking everywhere, and eating enough Ian’s pizza and Babcock ice cream to last me through at least 2 years in Colombia.
I visited Minneapolis for the first time and was reunited with my long lost “Peruvian” sister, Tiffany. If only I could take her to Colombia with me…
I explored Spain with a woman 2 generations wiser than me and got to learn all about my roots – specifically, where my activist tendencies come from.
I savored the last moments with my uncle and had time to reflect on all of the love and happiness he brought into the lives of those around him.
I watched my big brother give an awesome speech as he graduated with his Master’s degree.
These are just some of the memories I made in 2015. There are so many other little moments that are equally important. So while the year didn’t quite go as planned, it was by no means wasted time. Thanks to all of the amazing people in my life, 2015 has been a year I will never forget.