Reflecting on the past 12 months of service…

I’ve been in Fiji for one whole year now, it went by so fast and so painfully slow at parts. These past 12 months might’ve, and by might’ve I mean most definitely, have been the most uncomfortable, exciting, eye opening, saddest, and craziest year of my life. So much has happened and I’m still unable to fully process everything, good and bad, that has happened. But I’ll do my best to put my reflection into words.

I’m so grateful for the new friends I’ve made, I met some amazing people who I truly can’t imagine life without now that I know them. Friends that I can talk to when I’m feeling any of the millions of emotions that being in the Peace Corps creates.

I’m also so thankful for my family and everyone back home. There’s been times that I wanted to go home and give up but their endless support from half way around the world really keeps me going.

My boyfriend, Tyler, has shown me what unconditional love is by sticking with me through it all and still showing support even when his tank is empty.

This past year has brought so many tears – some happy, but honestly mostly sad ones. They say this is where growth happens, so I’m hopeful that the next 12 months will be full of growth.

I’ve learned how truly important self care is, no matter what that may be. Meditation, reading, gardening, calling a friend, laying in front of the fan, eating peanut butter out of the jar, splurging on the “good” coffee, rubbing lavender oil all over my body, going on a walk, picking the dirt out of my toenails, exercise, I can say a million ways I learned to self care. And it’s truly made a difference. I feel like I’m so much more in control of my day when I start the day with the intention of taking time for myself and doing something that makes me happy. … not that picking dirt out of toes makes me super happy, but I feel great afterwards!

I always knew family was the most important thing to me, and holds true to this year. Living so far away made me realize that every goodbye should be treated as if it’s the last one, because it just may be. You can never say I love you too many times to anyone important to you.

I am learning to be more giving and to be able to let go of material possessions. My village gives so much without expecting anything in return, and they have a lot less than most people I know in America. It’s something I’m working on and learning as I go.

Extreme sadness doesn’t last forever – neither does extreme happiness. I feel like I’ve always been a very happy, optimistic positive person. This still holds true in many ways, but with less naiveness. I noticed that behind many smiles there’s a dark story. And that everyone, every single person walking on Earth has a story. Experiencing dark times makes the bright times seem brighter. I learned to stay humble when I’m high knowing that the high won’t last forever.

I learned to be a better listener. And I realized how much I love talking and how much I do talk. But when podcasts become your main source of intellectual conversations the listening muscle gets strengthened.

I learned that I can do it and I am strong enough. This past year told me that life sucks sometimes but can also be so beautiful and full of love. You never know how strong you are until you don’t have a choice to be nothing but strong. I learned it’s ok to cry and it’s ok to ask for help. Asking for help shows strength and is a time to learn from others.

This past year taught me that no matter what – life goes on whether you’re ready or not.

Xoxo

Liv

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