My Peace Corps service closed on April 19, 2011.
I am not sure what to say, these two years have thrown more at me that I could have expected. I've learned more and completed more than I knew I was capable. Going through my photos from my first year of service alone I could see the growth in me. I have eaten things I didn't know were eatable! I was taught new techniques for making food and surviving on an island.
As I return home to family and friends anxiously awaiting my arrival I become full of mixed emotions. Of course I am ecstatic to see everyone and be in a place I know so well again. However, the experienced gained in my service has changed me forever. As a speaker recently stated, those who serve in the Peace corps return home with a "third eye". We have opened our minds and eyes so much that all we knew before we left on our mission has a different feel, a new look. To watch people of a foreign culture talk, dress, act and live differently among you for two years it is suddenly your own "norm". I am in awe some days looking back and realizing what I did; the challenges I worked through, high adventures I participated in and the simplicity of giving up years of my "normal" life to take on this mission.
I am so blessed to have had this opportunity to gain these lessons and life changing events. I will forever be a new and improved Julie thanks to the Peace Corps and the individuals who touched my life while I was abroad. Many thanks (more than words could possibly say) to those back home who supported me through it all and were with me every step of the way!