I know I have not been very vigilant with my blog posts this fall. Things have been crazy busy! It's pretty unbelievable how much more productive I feel during my second year here in Albania than I did in my first. Now that I know the language, have a few projects going on, and know how the people in Himare 'work' I can get so much more done in a shorter amount of time. It seems as though 27 months is not nearly long enough for a Peace Corps Volunteer to accomplish as much as one would like.
Most of the first year was spent getting to know Albanian culture and language, figuring out how to work within my community, discovering the needs of my community and Albania as a whole, and learning how to efficiently get projects done. Getting comfortable and known and respected in my community is a huge step toward becoming successful in one's community. Now, in my second year, is when I have begun to get my 'hands dirty.' I am finally seeing and doing the actual work that I have tirelessly prepared for. No longer do I spend most of my time lobbying for funding and convincing people that yes, this project is definitely feasible.
Peace Corps is a roller coaster of emotions, workload, feelings, and self confidence. I have hit high points and I have definitely experienced the low points. These past couple of months have to be one of the highest points I have had since in Albania. Right now I feel accomplished, productive, and happy. (These feelings will definitely change multiple times before my close of service in May.) For me, these high points are what Peace Corps is all about. Yes, I am here to help out citizens of another country, but I am also here to experience living and working in a completely different environment.
There is no better feeling than walking down the street in Himare and really feeling as though I am truly part of this community and that I belong here.