"At the center of the universe is a loving heart that continues to beat and that wants the best for every person. Anything we can do to help foster the intellect and spirit and emotional growth of our fellow human beings, that is our job. Those of us who have this particular vision must continue against all odds. Life is for service." ~Mr. Fred Rogers

Sunday, August 19, 2012

The Decision

Throughout my Summer, and especially during my Parents visit, I've been wrestling with a decision to make. I really wanted to hear what my parents had to say, because their thoughts and input mean a lot. I even Skyped with my brother to make sure he knew where my head was at and what I was thinking. They helped me lay out the pros and cons, but I knew that ultimately, I had to make it on my own.

After a lot of thought, I've decided to "extend my service" or stay in Ukraine another semester (6 months), through the Summer of 2013! I had a meeting with my Director last week who approved everything and colleagues who are also so excited. The downside of this decision means that I won't be able to come home until next Summer, which is still weighing heavy on my heart, but with the support I've received the past 2 years, I know the next 10 months will be a blink of an eye.
My extended time will be unlike any of my time here so far, but I can say that I'm super excited for the future, whatever it may bring! My decision comes with many things in the works, things that I feel cannot be accomplished in the next 3-4 months. Of course, I'd like to see my 11th Form Class graduate in the Spring. Also, I'm pursing a few grant opportunities and partnering with another extending Volunteer to do some workshops around my "state". Also, I'm thinking of doing a book drive for my school, reaching out to some communities back in the States (stay tuned). All this, on top of the English and Leadership Clubs I have started, Leadership and Gender Empowerment Seminars I want to lead, and my full teaching schedule. This Winter will be long, cold, and grey but as you can see, I have ambitious goals to get me through -20'C weather, plus a village that loves me to death and would never let me feel unsupported, lonely, cold, or God forbid, hungry. 

I really feel like my time won't be finished in December, and I knew that I would have some sort of regret leaving. My plans for the future are still up in the air, but Seminary is still my main goal - possibly starting in 2014 after a year of reintegration and catching up. I've found a new passion here, working with people from a grassroots level and would like to tie the this together somehow with my future.
Like I told my parents, "I'll be home before you know it with stories, pictures, and memories to last a lifetime". When else does someone get the opportunity to stay longer at doing something they love so much!? In the meantime, I promise I'll be blogging - sharing stories and photos throughout this journey! It's almost Ukraine's 21st Independence Day, which means I'll be putting together a new list of the 21 Things I Love Most about Ukraine!

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