No, this is not a reference to the Spielberg movie. In Peace Corps, “ET” stands for “early termination.” And sadly, that’s what a few friends have decided to do this month.
There are many things about this experience that are hard. One of them is watching other volunteers leave early. There are so many reasons for this…health issues, work barriers, issues at site, plans for the future, people left at home, or some combination of all of those factors. It happens. And it’s not failure. It’s just that person deciding what is right for them at the given moment. And that’s okay. Things change. We start to see life differently. Unexpected hardships come up. That said, it’s not always easy to watch your friends go.
Over time, we’ve built close relationships with our fellow Peace Corps Volunteers. We are each other’s support system. All of us, on some level, understand what the others are going through. We know Moldova in a way that most people in the world do not. We know the challenges of being a volunteer, the joys, the casual way in which we openly discuss our bowel movements, and the secret Peace Corps lingo comprised of enough acronyms to fill a few wine barrels. We’ve lived this life together for more than a year now, through the ups and downs that Peace Corps service inevitably brings.
So that’s what’s on my mind today. The people I have to say goodbye to earlier than expected. Oh how I will miss them.