To any volunteer that ever felt lost or alone
Sri Lanka — Uniterra
When I read people’s blogs I often only hear about the good things, their observations getting off the airplane, pictures of their beach trip and fun encounters with their co-workers. It’s not that I haven’t had good times too, but it feels like a lie to say everything is ok when the good times are only part of the story.
This blog, the blog I wrote and rewrote and wasn’t sure if I should post or not, is my experience.
It isn’t perfect.
And that’s okay.
I don’t think there is a volunteer out there who never felt lost while on the crazy wonderful adventure that is volunteering abroad. Who never lied in bed feeling so unsure, or cried in the shower because they didn’t want anyone to hear. Who never thought about going home, because home is familiar, home is easy.
Here the food made me sick.
Here just grocery shopping requires an immense amount of energy.
Here I don’t have a desk at work and feel in the way.
Here being productive mean something so different than what I’m used to and change happens at both an incredibly slow and fast pace all at the same time
Here every day is a battle and I ask myself what am I fighting for? Why is this so hard? Why does no one else seem to be struggling like me?
But every day I still get up, go to work, and put one foot in front of the other.
Every day I learn something new, things don’t get better necessarily, but they change. In the beginning I was holding onto the idea of wanting to say it was better, but I needed to accept things weren’t going get better. Instead it could change or more importantly, I would change.
I have learned so much since being here: how to take the bus into the city, how to make grilled cheese with a hair straightener (see photo), how to communicate with my coworkers. Most importantly, I have learned to take success in the smallest of actions, that going on a walk instead of sitting in my room is something I should be proud of.
I wrote this blog to say that it’s okay to not be okay, it’s okay to struggle. As long as you are trying, you’re asking for help, you are not a failure. Even if maybe you feel like one. Know that when you see only happy blogs and Instagram posts, it doesn’t mean they are perfect, but that they probably don’t want to share their struggles. It’s easier to post perfection, it hurts less. Remembers the challenges are worth it because you are here to do a job, that no matter how small of an impact you make you are making an impact. So, keep trying, keep your head up and know that if your hungry and sad, hair straighteners will make the best grilled cheese of your life.