The Art of Flexibility

By Michael Owen

michael owenTo say that these last few months have been easy and a joy would be a bit of a stretch. While being gifted with two months of vacation may seem like an awesome prospect, the reality of it has been the opposite. Following swear-in, I knew that the time off would be welcomed after the rigors of three months of training. January 13th was a date that was starred and circled on my calendar. This day signified the beginning of a new routine, the beginning of the task that I came to Colombia to partake in, the beginning of the school year.

Unfortunately, things don’t always go according to plan. For eleven current CII-6 members, myself included, the recent changes that have been occurring across the coast have left us with more uncertainty and questions than answers and clear understandings of our roles here in Colombia. The reasons behind the changes make sense. No one wants to see their Peace Corps service end early due to circumstances beyond their control. However, this current state of limbo that my fellow volunteers and I find ourselves in has been frustrating and has zapped some of that raw energy and enthusiasm that we all possessed back in November.

Instead of getting settled in at my school, I find myself anxiously waiting for that phone call that’s going to put my next two years into perspective. What pueblo am I being moved to? How far away will the closest volunteer be? What will my counterparts be like? Will I have running water and stable electricity? How will I attain the necessary food and nutrients to successfully do my job? All of these questions and more have been floating around in my head and have left very little space to think of much else. Every waking moment seems to be consumed with a new round of unconfirmed possibilities.

The one saving grace that I have discovered through this whole ordeal is the fact that I can be flexible when faced with adverse situations. This virtue has helped me through shuffling schedules while teaching in South Korea. It allowed me to stay focused during my time in Florida when speed bumps presented themselves. Finally, the art of flexibility will allow me to adjust adequately and adapt to the new lifestyle that I am about to embark on. It will enable me to embrace the new challenges that I will be faced with and find creative solutions to help solve them. Most of all, flexibility will provide me the ability to make these next two years of my life some of the most successful ever.

Now if only the phone would ring…

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