Up until Semana Santa (I link to a previous Semana Santa article only because my mom calls it my funniest blog post ever) I was feeling dual emotions about leaving Nicaragua: on one hand, I was very happy to get back to my Friends and family. On the other hand, I wanted more time in Nicaragua. My projects still chug along and I wanted more time to accomplish my goals. These duel emotions were quite useful for my service, because they had kept me motivated to keep working.
Looking back on it now, I think that part of my reluctance to high tail it to the airport was the uncertainty about my future. I had applied to MBA programs, but I had not been admitted. There were a lot of questions about my future. However, over Semana Santa, my future crystallized a bit. I was accepted to the University of North Carolina Kenan-Flagler School of Business Full-Time MBA program for Fall 2016, and over the week I spoke to a lot of people and realized that the program is probably the right choice for my future.
At times, during the week, I was bored and uneasy. It was extremely hot in León. I was not sleeping well at night, partially because of the heat. Plus, I had no work with counterparts to occupy my time. Everyone was on vacation. However, on Saturday night I got a chance to go to the SummerFest beach party down at the beach of León, and I had a great time with my friend. The party was a concert with some great Latin artists, and being there made me realize how awesome it has been to serve in León, which is such a vibrant city, especially compared to some of the small towns that other Volunteers are in, both in Nicaragua and all over the world.
By the end of Semana Santa the fog cleared a bit for me. There are still a few things that I need to fall into place before I sign on the dotted line with Kenan-Flagler, but I am definitely moving in that direction. However, as soon as I made those decisions; as soon as I had time to reflect on my time in León, and as soon as I became to realize who my best friends are here and how I need to cherish my remaining time with them and say my good-byes, I fell gravely ill with a common, although incurable disease: Senioritis.
Over the last 24 hours I have had the opportunity to chat with my old site-mate and Small Business Volunteer predecessor, Lauren. Lauren diagnosed me immediately. She said that knowing that something different comes next in the future prevents us from enjoying the present. For me, she is completely correct. I have always been a person looking to the future. There has always been a next phase to my life, and I have tried to make them phases that I look forward to. School. Camp. College. Camp. Moving to DC and starting work with EY. Leaving EY and traveling around for three months. Peace Corps. MBA.
When that next phase was not clear to me I was in a malaise. Once the fog lifted I was smacked with Senioritis. As this week has gone on I have felt unmotivated to give 100%. I’m dithering over some reports that I need to write. I have put off making the phone calls that I need to make. Moreover, the work we do is mentally taxing. I sit down with professional teachers and challenge them to be better, in Spanish. I critique the work of people who have been teaching for more than 30 years. We all have good days and bad days at work, but today I just couldn’t bring myself to get tough on a counterpart and help him improve his teaching techniques. It is almost a bit embarrassing for me to admit it, but it is true. Hopefully writing about it will make me feel better and move on, finding a good work rhythm for April.
I’m not the only person in León suffering from Senioritis. Of course the high school seniors I work with are also suffering, but I am actually referring to one of my counterparts, Carlos. Carlos is going to retire next year, and I can tell that we are suffering from the same affliction (I know, we don’t make a very good Volunteer-counterpart duo at the moment). Carlos seems to be paying less attention to his health, contemplating his future more than the present, and he hasn’t been very diligent with class planning, which I find imperative for our work together. Of course, I understand why he is behaving as he is, if only because I am in a bit of the same position.
So that’s where Carlos and I find ourselves, for better or for worse. Of course, by simply now being conscious of my Senioritis I am going to try to find a nice equilibrium for April. If anyone is wondering what my near future is shaping up to look like, here is a snapshot:
May 14: Eric officially ceases to be a Peace Corps Volunteer
May 15 – 19: Trip to Honduras to see the Mayan ruins of Copan
May 20: Small goodbye party with my host family in León (they will also be celebrating some birthdays)
May 22: Fly to South Florida, to spend time with my Aunt and Grandmother in West Palm Beach
May 28: Fly to Washington DC to visit my friends there
June: My triumphant return to New York, a little bit of couch crashing in the City (I’m thinking Brooklyn is ripe for exploration), and a visit to Camp Shohola
July: For the first time in my life step foot in North Carolina to start my MBA program at UNC Kenan-Flagler
I hope to see any and all of my friends and family along the way. Please contact me if we will be crossing paths, or you would like me to make a detour for your sake. Happy springtime everyone!