Sunday, July 17, 2011

The End

Today is my last day in Senegal and the last day of my Peace Corps service. Tomorrow I will not only be in the United States of America, but I will also be a Returned Peace Corps Volunteer (RPCV). Who would have thought? I'm in shock and disbelief that it's the end. I can't believe that I made it, that I enjoyed it, and what a wonderful experience Peace Corps has been.

When I was first thinking about Peace Corps and casually telling people my plans during my senior year of college people were incredulous. Close friends knew that Peace Corps was a dream and maybe that I'm not quite the princess everyone seems to think I am. I remember one conversation in particular with a similarly minded friend who thought Peace Corps was a cool idea. I vividly remember standing in my kitchen on Oakland and we both had red solo cups in our hands. The friend asked me if I thought I could do it and I replied "yes, I think I can." Peace Corps is completely mind over matter, or at least it was for me. PST was absolute hell, but as I built a community of Peace Corps friends, work partners, and my Senegalese family everything else became bearable.

Now, two years have passed. There is no conflict of feelings. I want to come home, back to the United States, more than anything. Senegal was great, but this experience is over. At the same time it's unbelievably sad to say goodbye. It's difficult to move on from a life that I built completely by myself and one where I may never see the people who have meant so much to me ever again.

If you're thinking about doing Peace Corps, DO IT! It's amazing and you'll never regret it although, you will hate yourself at times for making such a ridiculous decision.

Thank you again to everyone who has read my blog and sent me letters. Thank you to my family and friends for being an amazing support network. Thank you to all of my Peace Corps friends; you guys are amazing and I can't even imagine what it's going to be like to say goodbye to you tonight.

That's it from Senegal. Katherine and I will be boarding a plane back to the motherland tonight! Ready or not here we come!

Until next time, Senegal.

Babenen yoon, Senegal.


  1. Alyssa,
    Congratulations on not only surviving Peace Corps but making it a great experience. I've really enjoyed following your blog and wish you well in the future. (my daughter is in the PC in Madagascar and your blog was one we followed together before she left)


  2. I don't know what to say..I am sobbing after reading your last post. What a brave young woman you are Alyssa! I am sure I would have never been able to handle all you went through.( and I don't even know the half of it..) I am so proud of you and so happy you are on your way home. It seems like forever since you went over there. I don't know what else to say or truly I don't know how to express what I am are a very special young woman and I hope all of your dreams come true. (sorry you always knew I was a little corny.:))
    Ana and I are sooo looking forward to seeing you in Chicago.Love you!

  3. Woohoo! The US is excited to have you back. Congrats on finishing the craziest 2 years of your life, I'm proud of you! Sad I'll miss you in Chicago next weekend, but can't wait to hear about the insane retail therapy sesh I'm assuming you're about to embark on :)

  4. 446 posts in two years. not too shabby. can't wait for the novella. congratulations!!!!

  5. Alyssa,
    Welcome home : )

  6. Congratulations Alyssa! You're pretty freaking awesome for chasing your dream. We are so flipping excited to have your back stateside. WELCOME HOME!

  7. Wow! I think that really sums it all up. WOW! There really is no way I can find the words to adequately express how proud I am of you. What you have done over these past two years is beyond amazing in so many ways. You have changed and improved the lives of so many Senegalese people - your process of goodbyes is proof of that. I even think the post office guys will miss you - Sometimes being mean is the best way people know to let go. You have broadened the horizons of all us who have followed your daily trials, tribulations, and successes over these past two years, and helped us to understand things about ourselves and our lives here that we never gave a moment's thought to before. You taught 51 third grade students about a world they could never have imagined existed, and helped to empower them to make a difference. It is my hope that legacy will live on for many years as they grow up and become true citizens of the world. And finally, you have learned, grown, and developed into an even more amazing woman than you were when you left. The future is here for you now Alyssa. I know that with this experience now a part of who you are, it's going to be an incredible one!

  8. I'm a bit behind in catching up on your blog posts. They made me tear up. You have really had such a great impact on those around you. I cannot tell you how proud we all are of you. You really made a life changing decision, stuck by it, and made a difference. Very few could have done that Alyssa. I am so proud of you and so in awe of what you have done. Welcome back to the US, good luck on the next leg of your adventure, and give me a phone call already! You've been home for a week now. Get on it! I want to hear stories! Congratulations again!!