12. Sharing stories… and inspiring others
We all have stories… where we are from, where we are headed, experiences we have gone through, and how they shape the way we think and interact with each other.
In May, I shared this story about sharing Albania with some girls during my trip back home. This story ended up being featured on official Peace Corps page. As I repeatedly mentioned on my I enjoyed my 3GOAL experience and everything from it. I loved talking about this particular two hours with my Albanian friends and colleagues. They were intrigued, especially after seeing the post on Peace Corps website.
Few weeks later, I received another email asking me to write another story based on specific words I had spoken on the previous post:
“We started the presentation with my journey to become a Peace Corps Volunteer; how I had heard about it during college, and decided to become a naturalized citizen to join PC; I got my Master’s to become a competitive candidate; why I chose Albania; how I learned my language; my experience living with host family that did not speak English; being a minority among Volunteers and in another country; and et cetera.”
At first, I was hesitant. My journey was personal… my struggle to become a Peace Corps has been with my family and culturally, we are very private. I did not want to depict my parents as those that stopped me from chasing my dreams rather than those that supported my decisions. Nevertheless, I did it anyway.
I drafted a story of my journey: reasons I decided to become a PCV, my circumstances at the time, and the life goal I have set to myself. It was a short one, and I felt exposed. But, I simultaneously, I felt refreshed and reassured of my every day work as a Peace Corps Volunteer.
July, when I wrote the story, was a rough month for me. It was my mid-service point, a point where there is known to be a “terrible slump”. Writing story not only gave me refreshing perspective… but it also enabled me to push forward and do my best in the circumstances I have. The small cheers and appreciation I received from my Albanian friends, colleagues, Peace Corps staff, and fellow PCVs really helped me move forward. In the end, it’s not the big projects I will leave as legacy, but the love and passion I have had for Albania and its people.
Read the story posted on the Peace Corps official page.
And this past Sunday, I received a Facebook message from a stranger. She was a prospective PCV, who decided to join Peace Corps because of my story. She wanted to thank me and told me that “[my] story cemented [her] decision to apply for Peace Corps”, especially because my journey was similar to what she is currently going through. I am truly in awe at the power of storytelling.