2006.08.26: August 26, 2006: Headlines: COS - Kyrgyzstan: Blogs - Kyrgyzstan: Personal Web Site: Kyrgyzstan Peace Corps Volunteer Jason Lemberg writes: Peace Corps is not a step you take in your life; junior high to high school is a step, Peace Corps is a free fall.

Peace Corps Online: Directory: Kyrgyzstan: Peace Corps Kyrgyzstan : The Peace Corps in Kyrgyzstan: 2006.08.26: August 26, 2006: Headlines: COS - Kyrgyzstan: Blogs - Kyrgyzstan: Personal Web Site: Kyrgyzstan Peace Corps Volunteer Jason Lemberg writes: Peace Corps is not a step you take in your life; junior high to high school is a step, Peace Corps is a free fall.

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Kyrgyzstan Peace Corps Volunteer Jason Lemberg writes: Peace Corps is not a step you take in your life; junior high to high school is a step, Peace Corps is a free fall.

Kyrgyzstan  Peace Corps Volunteer Jason Lemberg writes: Peace Corps is not a step you take in your life; junior high to high school is a step, Peace Corps is a free fall.

"I feel as if I have base-jumped from a cliff into cloudy valley; every so often I am thrown into the cliff by a gust of wind and then, slowly, I regain control and work my way back into the free fall. I really never feel like I have control over anything here besides what goes on inside my head, and even that can be a bit shaky at times. Donít get be wrong, I am not going crazy (crazier) nor am I disliking my experience here. I am simply stating that uprooting myself from everything Iíve ever known has proven to have much more effect on me than I could ever thought."

Kyrgyzstan Peace Corps Volunteer Jason Lemberg writes: Peace Corps is not a step you take in your life; junior high to high school is a step, Peace Corps is a free fall.

The Joy and the Struggle

[Excerpt]

8/24/06

6:15 PM

I remember having countless conversations before I left to come here about how big of a step in my life joining Peace Corps was for me. What an obscene understatement. Peace Corps is not a step you take in your life; junior high to high school is a step, Peace Corps is a free fall. I feel as if I have base-jumped from a cliff into cloudy valley; every so often I am thrown into the cliff by a gust of wind and then, slowly, I regain control and work my way back into the free fall. I really never feel like I have control over anything here besides what goes on inside my head, and even that can be a bit shaky at times. Donít get be wrong, I am not going crazy (crazier) nor am I disliking my experience here. I am simply stating that uprooting myself from everything Iíve ever known has proven to have much more effect on me than I could ever thought. I love what I am doing and I love where I am at. There are plenty of crazy reasons why I am so happy with what I am doing. Happiness now, though, in my present situation, rises out of the conquering of the unknown. Itís this crazy part of my ďhappyĒ reasons that scares me because they involve putting myself time and time again through struggle, turmoil, and countless trips into my soul; a place which I have rarely visited in my short lifetime.

In a short month here I have taken many journeys deep into my soul, and I have truly surprised myself with what I have found. The most expected find and dually the most challenging has been that gaps between where I have and where I have never gone. Deep inside of my soul and my thoughts there are endless dark tunnels dying to be explored. The scary part is that I have taken a few initial steps in the past month into these tunnels and Iíve struggled immensely with what I found. Amidst all of my confidence and budding intelligence lies a very unsure young man. Is it insecurity? I donít know. In a very ironic twist to ďsoul searching,Ē I have grown more and more confident with myself as I find out more and more about my insecurities and shortcomings. All of this exploring has taken place during my experienced of isolation; feeling the pains of loneliness has really opened me up to many of my ďinsecurities.Ē I remember having a conversation with a dear friend of mine, Dr. Martin Forward, over lunch a short while before I left. He was sharing with me many of the emotions, joys, and struggles that he went through during his long stay in India during his youth (to be exact, when he was 23, as I am now). The one thing that stuck with me was his discussion about the loneliness; he stayed far away from warning me, he simply laid it out there for me to have in my mind. I remember him paying special attention to idea of feeling completely isolated and lonely in the middle of a crowd. I wish now I would have prodded a bit deeper for more of his insight. It is amazing how I can be surrounded by an entire country of people, Peace Corps volunteers included, and still have moments where I feel entirely isolated and alone. And the scary part is that I am still month away from leaving for my permanent site. I have eleven other trainees in my village with me and I see the other fifty-eight volunteers twice a week for different training sessions. I am far from lonely yet; soon long winter days will truly begin the test.

Itís inevitable though, I have never been a part of anything in my life that has come this close to closing me off from everything Iíve ever known. Granted I have pictures, a laptop, and some movies. But try talking to your parents in a picture frame or attempting to telepathically talk to your best friends, it just doesnít work, Iíve tried. Due to a lack of constant outlets for conversation with people I have known my entire life, I have been forced to really take the time to explore my thoughts with the person who knows me best: myself. Only time will tell how crazy I really am.





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