Holy moly, my departure date is nearly here. I am finishing up packing clothes, school supplies, and all of the essentials like wool socks and hot sauce into my luggage and trying to tie up all loose ends before I leave the country for two years. I’m saying my goodbyes and eating every last Bojangles biscuit I can. I thought I would christen this blog with a post that helped me to collect my thoughts about this past year and prep myself for the journey ahead. Hopefully the rest of my posts will be less “As Told By Ginger” diary-style and a bit more anecdotal about my time as a PCV. Feel free to skip right over this one if you don’t feel like reading the ramblings of an overly emotional Amir Feinberg.
One year ago, I graduated from Boston University and moved back home to start a post-bacc program to finish the prerequisites for medical school. As I started my first organic chemistry class my friends were finding apartments and starting their careers, and I couldn’t help but feel disappointed in myself. When I graduated high school, I swore to everyone that would listen that I would never move back to Gastonia, North Carolina. My hometown represented everything I was trying to run away from. That negativity had since subsided over the years, but it just felt as if I had failed in a way.
I certainly didn’t expect to have one of the most introspective and affirming years of my life, but I’ll be damned if that isn’t exactly what I got. In Boston, I surrounded myself with people that I felt meant a great deal to me. I was constantly with someone, rarely allowing myself a second of alone time to recharge. Call me a social butterfly, if you will. Being separated from the constant stimulus that was my social life terrified me, but it turned out to be a blessing. I stayed in contact with those that really mattered to me and I let some friendships dissolve naturally. In the meantime, I met new people through an amazing job and school. I went through the trenches of studying for the MCAT and came out with friendships that I hope will last quite some time.
What I am most thankful for from my gap year is how my relationship with my parents has grown and taken shape. To put it politely, our relationship during my last few years of high school were a bit shaky. I loved them, don’t get me wrong, but I wasn’t over my teenage angst phase and all I wanted was to be independent. We were always close, but we just existed in different worlds. Over the year, however, our relationship evolved. I began to see things through their eyes. The scariest part was realizing how much I had turned into my parents. From my dad’s humor to my mom’s view of the world, I became a miniaturized version of the two of them, just with beautiful facial hair. For the first time in my life, I was seeing them as friends. If I had left for the Peace Corps immediately after college it would have made this goodbye a hell of a lot easier, but I wouldn’t trade the time I got to spend with them for the world.
As I look forward to my service with the Peace Corps, I am filled with so many thoughts and emotions. I was initially accepted in October and was medically cleared rather early on in the process. Moldova was so far in the future at that time that I never took a moment to think about what I was about to do. Instead, I worried about classes, work, the MCAT, medical school applications, just to name a few. Now that all of that is over, Moldova is here. I have no idea what to expect and that terrifies me. There is so much unknown still. Where will I be living? How am I going to learn an entire language well enough to teach in it? Did I pack enough razors? I know that the moment I step off the plane in Moldova, my worries and fears will become excitement. As Marius so beautifully puts it, “The time is now, the day is here.” Moldova, I’m ready for ya.