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“I’m not lost, just wandering ’round my hometown”

22 Sep

Familiar places are eerie when you know you’ll be leaving them behind.

Visiting DePauw this weekend, I was inundated by the constant replaying of moments from the span of my four years at the university.  Here’s where I slipped on some ice one frosty morning when I had decided to brave the snow in heels.  Sitting in the snowbanks, I had laughed at myself in a way that broke from the restrained snicker everyone has perfected for social situations.

It was in the same intersection of streets that I had taken the call saying my medical evaluations ruled out the possibility of serving with the Peace Corps in Africa.

Hometown and college town alike, I can’t seem to see the town through the streets these days.  Every future PCV must have a personalized way of dealing with the changes that are going to overturn the state of our current lives.  Mine seems to resemble mourning.  I’m not mourning the pets that will be gone when I return, or the friends that will be an ocean away, though both cast a shade on the excitement of these expectant days.  I can’t help but mourn myself.  Never having associated myself with being “American,” and all the freedom preaching and abusing that implies, I recognize the very real risk I am running of never returning to the states.  I feel blessed not only for the chance to experience something only roughly 7,500 individuals are granted each year, but for the chance to be allowed to fundamentally change.  I am aware of people simultaneously handing me a “pass” to change, while taking a mental snapshot to which they can later compare me.  No one would tell a future PCV their experience isn’t going to be life changing, but when it comes to qualifying the actual changes that are going to take place in an individual, I doubt many people realize what it means.

Upon my return, I will be faced with figuring out what to do when I won’t fit in the same Linnea shaped space I did before.  Perhaps that is what leads me to mourn, the reality that though this same comfortable, safe spot will be there for me when I return, I won’t be able to take it back even if I wanted to.

That being said, I am almost overflowing with joy and expectation for the next few days. The complexity of emotions I deal with on a daily basis right now make this process all the sweeter.  It’s a beautiful tugging feeling to be drawn to cry over the sorrow of parting with friends and the thankfulness of being given a rare opportunity.  I want you to know I write these posts with a smile on my face.  Emotions are meant to be felt in full, and I have done nothing less than that for the past week.

So, I encourage all of you to write to me with a smile on your face!

——–much Awaited Mailing Information:

My mailing address during PST is as follows;

U.S. Peace Corps/Ukraine
PCV Linnea Zielinski
P.O. Box 204
Kyiv, Ukraine
01032

OR

U.S. Peace Corps/Ukraine
PCV Linnea Zielinski
111A Saksahanskogo Street
Kyiv, Ukraine
01032

Around mid-December, this address will be changing as I move out to the village in which I will be serving for the remaining two years.  I’ll post that new address when I have it, of course.

*Important note: We have been given instructions saying that only letters will be delivered, though my Peace Corps peer advisor has mentioned that during her time in PST one volunteer was able to receive small, padded envelope packages.  If you want to try the packages (I, of course, would have no objections to this), I suggest trying only a couple small, cheap objects the first time to see if in fact they can get through.

If you want to start working on a care package for when I reach my final destination in December, I will be posting a “wish list” on the left-hand side of this blog with small things I miss or would appreciate.

Side note: Is anyone wondering where I get the song lyrics for my titles?  I’m going to start posting the song name and artist here at the bottom of posts in case you’re curious.

Music: “Hometown Glory” -ADELE (from the album, 19)

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Thanks, DePauw!

16 Jul

First of all, I feel so proud that from my graduating class, four people decided to serve with the Peace Corps ( not to mention the great amount doing AmeriCorps and Teach For America! ). Now I’m extremely flattered about this article: http://www.depauw.edu/acad/articles/?id=23761 though I wish the other two people had emailed responses to the questions so I could learn more about their respective job assignments, motivations for joining and locations. I feel honored to be part of a group of people pushing themselves to live and work in another country for two years. Sometimes I feel intimidated knowing that several of these people have been intending to join the Peace Corps for years because in comparison, my decision likely comes across as clandestine. Though the complete shift I made in my post-graduation trajectory may cause others to see me as capricious, I know just how passionate I am about the coming 27 months. My appreciation for this opportunity also deepens every time I meet and talk with someone who has been wanting to do this for some time. What I’m trying to get across is that, now that I’m away from DePauw and have been able to get some perspective on my college experience, I am overwhelmed by how blessed I am to have gone to a university that housed and taught so many concerned and giving people. Even if it took me longer than most, I’m thankful to be a part of a group of students joining these types of organizations and I hope that next year’s graduating class sees the same appeal and opportunity in these programs as the class of 2009.