I was recently faced with the decision of whether or not I wanted to change sites (for reasons I don't want to get into here). I battled over the decision for weeks, changing my mind every other day (and hour), having nightmares about making the wrong decision and completely stressing myself out. (My apologies to those who have crossed my path recently… I know I haven't been very pleasant.)
My decision came down to this simple question: what was more important, work or relationships? Do I stay here knowing my work might not be that fulfilling, but I'll have a great family, friends and counterpart? Or do I move to a new site where the work will be much more fulfilling, but I might not have the relationships I have here?
As an American, I've always chosen work. I've put in 80-hour weeks, declined birthday party invitations and spent several weekends alone in an empty office building. One reason I wanted to join the Peace Corps was to escape that crazy rat-race lifestyle, if only for two years. Yet here I was… debating whether work was more important than people.
I talked to several people about my decision (several times!) and almost everyone told me the same thing: listen to your heart. So I did. And I decided my heart belongs in Kvareli, with the people who have welcomed me into their homes and have treated me like a member of their family.
Since making this decision, I truly feel like the weight of the world has been lifted off my shoulders. Everything just feels different. Lighter. Happier. Like I belong here.
I woke up this morning and noticed the sky was blue, the sun was shining and the snowcapped mountains were sparkling. Then I realized our water had come back on, and to top it off, we had hot water too! So I enjoyed a warm shower for the first time in a month. I walked to work without a coat on and enjoyed the sun beating down on my face. I spent the day editing wine descriptions, planning outings with my fellow Volunteers, reading wonderful emails from home and eating fresh kiwi from our neighbor's yard. Towards the end of the day, my counterpart took me to see the world's second longest wine tunnel (it's 2km long!), which they are developing into an incredible winery and restaurant. I thought he just wanted me to see it, but turns out, they want me to help them with their marketing! When I finally got home tonight, I found my grandmother in the kitchen making my favorite meal – chicken with walnut sauce.
I know it was just a coincidence that all of this happened on the day after I made my decision, but it felt like all of the pieces were finally coming together: work, family, friends. Having to make this decision, while painful and stressful, renewed my desire to be here. I feel like I made the right decision for the right reasons. I listened to my heart and chose relationships over work. And isn't that what I came here to do?
Just a few reasons I decided to stay...
|Steve and Henry|