I do not want to sound as if I am getting old, but the adage “Boy how time flies by”, really tells of my time spent in the U.S over the previous months. I feel like I’ve arrived to the U.S. just last week, but it has been 11 Months. Now that I realize that I am almost at the end of my fellowship; I am experiencing mixed feelings as things come to an end. It is always exciting when you start and successfully end one chapter in life. When you get the chance to live abroad, be emerged in a new culture and you get to know new places & amazing people. I honestly believe that getting mentally and emotionally ready for any new life adventures is always invigorating, or at least it is to me.
I traveled and moved to other countries quite a lot over the past 4 years, and I am actually used to meeting quite a lot of new faces, making new friends and aquiatinces and then enitaibly take my leave. Yes, that way of life might be a bit for some as I still dislike saying “good bye”, it sounds too simple, too banal. My technique instead is saying, “see you later”, and that can happen wherever; chances are that it occurs when I least expected. Fortunately, I’ve been in this situation several times and can move forward on a good note.
Well, as you can bet, all these ideas are settling in and so I go into an existentialist mode and thought about the 5 things I would never change over course of the past 11 months. These are:
Became an Atlas Corps/ América Solidaria Fellow: This has been a great experience at a personal and professional level. Before I got accepted for the fellowship I got a very interesting job offer. I don’t regret declining it, since this year has taught me many things.
As a fellow, for instance, I’ve improved some professional skills and I’ve learned a nonprofit´s best practices and sustainability. I attended a broad range of conferences, summits and other events where crucial topics were discussed and where I got the opportunity to meet different personalities and other great people. It was amazing, there were so many interesting aspects going on with both, the Altas Corps and América Solidaria programs.
Accepted my host organization offer: I got other offers to be placed as a fellow before I accepted to the Ayuda’s program. I am certainly lucky; Ayuda is awesome, not only because of the amazing work they do with the immigrant community but also because of the work environment. Ayuda’s staff members became a second family, and dare I say even as close as new found sisters. I will always treasure great memories of our lunch breaks together, eating sweets and having funny and the even personal conversations. I can only describe my Ayuda family as the best.
Met lots of amazing fellows from around the world: My fellowship gave me the opportunity to meet incredible fellows from other cultures, religions, customs and values. This has been such a marvelous gift, I’ve learned so much from them. I got the chance to interact and become friends with great people who care about the world we live in. They’re not only social makers, leaders or excellent professionals if you will; they are one of the most beautiful human beings I’ve ever met, and they will surely continue to do great things to achieve global challenge.
Lived in Arlington, Virginia not in DC: I love DC, but Arlington rocks. I was serving at Ayuda, which is located in Fairfax, Virginia. It made more sense to live in Virginia to avoid any long and unnecessary daily commutes. I am happy to be an adoptive Arlingtonian. Northern Virginia, the “birthplace of presidents” offers history, culture and entertainment all in one. Our county has been over run with cute bunnies and squirrels. It is also a very safe place to live, and has the plus of being a very progressive area. Virginians are very friendly and welcoming, and my roommates and neighbors are proof of that.
Pushed myself to do as many things as I can: I’ve always took it upon myself to seek out what the area has to offer and this time was no exception. Thanks to that philosophy, I increased my “to do” list. For instance, without listing all items on my list, I’ve practiced a new discipline –Bikram Yoga, I volunteered in events and other activities, I visited new places and tried to be “a human GPS” in DC and the NoVa area (It sounds weird but I like to remember the streets I walk down). I also did many fun activities with the many new friends I’ve made. Some of our activities included visiting the art galleries, natural parks, meetings and so on.
In conclusion, I would say that this period of my life has been awesome and I would not change it at all. Thank you Atlas Corps, América Solidaria and my fellow fellows!