Where’s the last place one should drag an introvert to? A party. Yes, I dragged Cam to a party last night. Well, it was a small gathering anyway, and really not a party, but more of an informal informational session with food. Still, Cam hadn’t met any of the invitees. I knew of two, some fellow returned Peace Corps volunteers, or RPCVs. The rest were potential future Peace Corps volunteers.
I served as a volunteer in Mauritania and Zambia. I worked in agriculture, health, and education. I would do it all over again in a heartbeat. It’s been almost 3 years since I left. I realize I probably romanticize it now. We tend to forget the frustrations and bad days when we reminisce about the good ol’ days.
I forget that most normal people, especially introverts like Cam, don’t just talk to strangers all the time. Peace Corps volunteers will talk to anyone. We make friends fast. We had to. We met a group of people we were to serve abroad with, got to know them in about a day, got on a plane with them, and realized these people would be our best friends for at least 2 years. When we got placed at our sites, we immediately had to seek out people to work with. We talk to everyone—it’s part of the job we loved so much.
Once we get back to the States, we love to talk about Peace Corps. We talk over each other. I feel like I always have to get my story out there. I want everyone to know how much my experience means to me. The experience never leaves. After service, an RPCV can continue service by carrying out the Third Goal: to promote a better understanding of other peoples on the part of Americans. In other words, do what we like to do best, and talk about it at length.
I remembered when Cam and I started dating, I did nothing but talk about Peace Corps. Luckily, he’s a quiet introvert that didn’t mind listening. He got another dose of it last night, while listening to the RPCVs answer the questions of those interested in Peace Corps. Not fitting into either category, he listened to our unique stories in different countries. He also made some new friends with my friends Heath and Ashley, which makes me excited. Maybe he’ll join us at our monthly Peace Corps dinner.
So just remember, if our paths ever cross, and you feel I’m being too quiet, ask me about my Peace Corps experience, and I won’t shut up. You can also learn more about the Peace Corps here if you prefer a quieter evening.