Peace Corps Journal – Entry 1

The contents of this blog are mine personally and do not reflect any position of the U.S. Government or the Peace Corps.

Starting over at 60 has not been easy.  More like a blessing whose promise lies somewhere in the future – the distant future.  I’m 65 now and still trying to get my footing.  I recall a statement attributed to Archimedes: “Give me a place to stand and I will move the world.” Here I stand.  Be careful what you wish for.

I am a Peace Corps Volunteer in Thailand.  Early on in pre-service training (PST) I let my expectations run ahead of me.  As a result, I come close to earning a seat on a flight back home.  Not an idle concern, as it turns out.  Our group lost six volunteers before swearing in on March 18.  Out of respect for the privacy of each volunteer, we don’t learn why someone leaves.  But you live with these people.  You know.

Before I leave, my sister tells me I am intolerant of others and won’t succeed unless I change.  It may look like that from the outside, but that’s not how it feels to me.  I am headstrong to be sure, but I am easily undone by criticism.  I tend to give people a wide berth – mostly out of principle, but also in the hope they will do the same for me.  I take people at their word, and even at my age I am shocked when they don’t follow through.  Combine this with the idealist’s fervor and a zealot’s sense of mission and you can predict the outcome.

In my case, anticipating the implied option, I choose to take the long view.  It is not a hard decision.  Because despite feeling misunderstood, I am also determined – given the chance – to finish what I set out to do and to be the person I say that I am.  I do this for my own sake, not just to prove a point.  I’ve been here before; I realize that this is my chance.

So I sit here in my one-room-and-a-bath along highway 4009, Village number 2, Chak Bok township of Ban Khai District, Rayong Province, Thailand, about 500 meters west of Wat Huanghin School, where I will spend the next two years as a Peace Corps Volunteer teaching English.

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About Dennis Pastore

Dennis Pastore serves with the Peace Corps in the Ban Khai district, Rayong province, of Thailand helping to teach English to elementary and middle school students at Wat Huanghin School. A former economist with the Economics and Statistics Administration of the U.S. Department of Commerce, he has also taught history and German as a foreign language at high schools in Maryland and Massachusetts.
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One Response to Peace Corps Journal – Entry 1

  1. RICHARD M. KNAEBLE says:

    Forty-two years ago I returned from my stint as a Peace Corps Volunteer from the Republic of Korea, ready to take on the world. I had survived two years in the middle of nowhere, learned a new language(s) and culture, hopefully did some good in the local health system, and returned to that BIG PX IN THE SKY with all my fingers and toes. Korea was very hard on me and the first six months nearly killed me, figuratively and actually. But like you I was stubborn and committed, and saw it through to the end, as difficult as that was to do. Glad I did because it became a life-changing experience that molded and directed the rest of my life. It made me a better person, a better American. These last 42 years, when I found I was facing something hard to do, I would only have to remind myself that I had survived and succeeded in Korea and so I could survive and succeed at ANYTHING. And I have. I stopped in Thailand on my way home and remember the fried bananas, and the HEAT. My thoughts and prayers are with you, my old friend.

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