I check my email out of habit, never really expecting much.  Well, ladies and gents, while on a train to Connecticut earlier today I opened an invitation to serve as a Peace Corps volunteer in Malawi with a departure date of June 18th.  I know, friends, my thought exactly:  WHAT?!

My heart racing, I scanned through the email and the attachments with a smile on my face.  Finally, after seven months of not knowing, I finally know in what this long process will culminate.  College will finally pay off!  I can finally do what I love:  teach!  Auuu!

I called my mom to tell her the news and her reaction made my heart sink a little: 

“Africa?  Tan lejos?!”  So far?! 

My initial excitement turned to sadness as I thought about the reality of things.  I will be leaving my family and friends, all of those who I love with everything I’ve got.  I will be leaving all I know behind, for 27 months.  To think that I have to say goodbye, especially to my mother and nephew who are my life, just kills me.  When I return my nephew will be twelve!  Whoa, when I come back I will be twenty-eight years old!  I will miss out on so many things.  How many girls’ nights will I miss?  How many dirty jokes will I not hear?  Birthdays, chicken wings, weddings, kisses, laughs, births?  What if I miss out on meeting the love of my life?  I will face things that I can’t yet begin to imagine.  All alone.

Then the thought occurred to me that if I stay here, I just may be the exact same person I am today in two years, unhappy with monotony and unsure of many things, purposeless.  But if I do go, I will undoubtedly be a different Jax, full of purpose and perspective.  That is a possibility I don’t think I can let go.  I know that in twenty years, when I am settled with children and a husband and a career (or most likely alone with 20 birds), when I can no longer just up and leave, I will look back and think about the time I had the chance to travel across the world and make a difference and grow and learn and be happy but didn’t.  I don’t want that.  I love my family and friends, my home, running water and electricity, and even shitty little Central Falls, but I have nothing to lose by doing this, and so so so much to gain.  I am scared, but not foolish.

It is not a guarantee as of right now, not until I fill out forms and have physical exams and shots and take xrays and muster up the much-needed courage to go through with this that it will be official.  If all goes well, I will be leaving for Malawi in mid-June.  Thank you all for your support and kind words.

I can’t even believe that shit.  Little old smartass me in Africa, helping young minds find autonomy through literacy.  How absolutely insane.  Eighteen-year-old Jax would’ve croaked laughing at the thought!

8 thoughts on “Malawi!

  1. yay Jackie, so proud and happy for you!! that’s life-changing, deep and exciting stuff right there, so cool. (and I’ve been meaning to say how much I love your writing, consistently excellent stuff, you have a gift…) — su primo Mario

  2. Wow jax! What an adventure your life is becoming to be. It sounds so good to travel across the world. So happy for you. Don’t worry, life is going to treat you right because God is looking out for you. Good luck freak!

  3. Could not be more proud. One of my biggest regrets is that I did not study abroad or venture very far from home when I was in my college years. DO it! Take it all in! and embrace it as a gift you give to yourself. And, about Margot, don’t worry. Her parcera Carlina will check in on her! XOXOXOXOXO


    1. Thanks tia! Looking at it as a gift to myself is a great idea, that made me smile. I am also happy to know my mom is in good hands!! 🙂

  4. I never get tired of reminding you just how amazing you are…I love you and couldn’t be prouder!

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