‘R’ is for Returned

I’m officially an RPCV and was given Interrupted Service. Theres a few loose ends to tie up, paperwork to process, and other business to take care of. I think the word “interrupted” couldn’t describe it more accurately. My life existed in Zavkhan, and now it doesn’t. With very few goodbyes and lots of tears,  I winded up back in California with little money and no real plan. Life does that sometimes, but I’m okay. I’m lucky to have a great family. I wish things had resulted differently, but I can’t control that. I will always think of my students and my friends living in Zavkhan as the peaceful people they were, and I miss them. I will cherish the experience and how it has changed me for the rest of my life.

I’m in Amsterdam with my family who I haven’t seen in too long, eating plenty of bad food and pretending I can exist in western society and culture without freaking out a little on the inside about enormous quantities, expensive prices, cleanliness, and other exorbitant luxuries. But now that the Peace Corps chapter of my life is over, I’m moving onto the next one, whatever that may be.There is only so long you can dwell on the surface level of things, because the next day always comes.

The political climate in the U.S. is much worse than I anticipated, and my generation’s apathy is becoming more and more of a cause for concern. I don’t know how requesting clean water makes people radical activists, instead of people simply speaking up for basic rights. Sexual assault is becoming more and more socially accepted as a reality we can’t change and our public can’t conceptualize public health care or a world without prejudice. It all just makes me so sad. I’ve come back to my own world worried. I can only exemplify the peace that I wish to see in world, following the advice of our good friend Gandhi.

Talking to my friends and family about all of this, I realized that we’ve lost faith in the media, and in “facts.” In these times, my only true belief is that artistic expressions are more important than ever. One day, years from now, we’ll see the art from today and see the impacts that society has on our grief, anger and hope for a better future.

That’s enough of my idealism for today.

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