April 24th, 2007
This is a new style of email for me, a mass email juxtaposed with quotes. Some of the quotes hit me over the head with reality while others speak simply of some life perspectives for me.....so if you don't want to read all the fluff I wrote maybe you can at least enjoy the quotes....
"It is the quality of our experiences, the satisfaction, excitement or joy that we get or fail to get from them that will determine how those experiences will change us, in short what we learn. " - John Holt
It’s with a fuzzy heart that I write this email. I am torn right now between two worlds: that of Ghana and of home.
I tried my best to make Ghana my home for the past two years and I believe I did in my heart and with friends, but in terms of the physical place it never felt like home. It simply felt like the place I was traveling, visiting, and staying just temporarily - another stop on the journey of my nomadic life.
"Life is the art of getting used to what we didn't expect." - Anonymous
Some of you maybe asking what was the best thing in Peace Corps, what will you miss, what has been the hardest challenge for you….and I can say this. The best things are those little moments you connect with people, where you share knowledge and learn from each other, where you see something with fresh eyes, and when it captures you at that moment you get lost in it. I will miss friends, fresh amazingly sweet fruit, teaching, and my students. The hardest thing those times when I felt like I was all alone, when I didn’t have a shoulder to cry on, when I was going against the grain, and when I feel twenty feet and had to learn how to pick myself up emotionally and physically.
You cannot teach a man anything. You can only help him discover it within himself. "
"Our greatest glory consists not in never falling, but in rising every time we fall." - Oliver Goldsmith
"Although attempting to bring about world peace through the internal transformation of individuals is difficult, it is the only way." - Dalai Lama
"The best way out is always through. " - Robert Frost
"Worrying is like a rocking chair, it gives you something to do, but it doesn't get you anywhere.´- Van Wilder
"Peace cannot be kept by force. It can only be achieved by understanding." - Albert Einstein
But, all in all, it’s been good. I am not sure if it truly is the toughest job that I will ever love like they say that it is. If you have any questions, please ask it would really help me begin to process stuff.
"I am glad I did it, partly because it was well worth it, and chiefly because I shall never have to do it again. " - Mark Twain
When I come back I look forward to seeing family, friends, working out, drinking coffee, going out and drinking micro brews from the tap with nachos, climbing trips, the smells, the sounds, just soaking up the little things that remind me of so much. I know I will miss Ghana. I will miss the strong odors, array of colors, clash of market items, and garage sale like markets. But, I don’t really know what I will miss till I come home.
"A small boy looked at a star and began to weep. And the star said, boy, why are you weeping? And the boy said, you are so far away I will never be able to touch you. And the star answered, boy, if I were not already in your heart you would not be able to see me. " - John Magliola
"Though we travel the world over to find the beautiful, we must carry it with us or we find it not. " - Ralph Waldo Emerson
"Do what you love and the money will follow. " - Marsha Sinetar
"Nature is about the only thing left where principles and laws hold true, where things are as they are supposed to be, where there is no discrimination against anyone, and where beauty, harmony and inter relatedness provide experiences that people enjoy remembering. " - Goff
During the last three months of my service I will be busy finishing out projects. Co-organizing a national art exhibition in the northern region of Ghana for all of the school that Peace Corps volunteers are involved in, teaching at my school and wrapping up project there (girls club, art club, mural paintings, etc.), participating in training as a trainer for the new group of volunteers that will arrive in June, and then closing out my service in Ghana. There are no big trips on the way home, just to get home. I will think about a big trip in a year from now. Right now I want to be back home with friends and family, and to be sudeo-settled living out of my car and playing as much as I can.
"Change is inevitable, enjoy it." - Dr Brian Smith
Now, I have a foot on one side of the raven and the other is beginning to touch down on the other distant side.
That step will be complete when I come home on July 21st. I’ll fly into Portland, OR, spend some time with my parents, go on some climbing trips with friends, and then buy a car and venture down to work in Southern Utah at my new job with Second Nature Entrada. I will be a wilderness guide for at risk youth and adults. Using the wilderness as a form of therapy to process life, which is one of the reasons I like to be lost in it so much. It will be great to be doing something that I love to do myself and this is really something that I can see as a job. It’s often difficult to take hobbies and really make the connection of work, life, and hobbies. Some of my hobbies take over my life, but at the same time, there should be a sense of playfulness with every endeavor. So it is with such thoughts that I venture down to the red hued desert and for the amazing climbing.
"Do not follow where the path may lead. Go instead, where there is no path and leave a trail. "
"The man who follows the crowd will usually get no further than the crowd. The man who walks alone is likely to find himself in places no one has ever been before." - Anonymous
"Eventually all the pieces fall into place...until then, laugh at the confusion, live for the moment, and know that everything happens for a reason. " - Anon
"The only thing that makes life possible is the permanent, intolerable uncertainty, the joy of not knowing what comes next " - Ursula K Le Guin
"Not all who wander are lost. " - J.R.R. Tolkien
See you soon!
In love, Erica M Brown
"To be nobody-but yourself – in a world which is doing its best, night and day, to make you everybody else – means to fight the hardest battle which any human being can fight; and never stop fighting. " - e.e. cummings
"It is to conquer fear that one becomes a climber. The climber experiences life to its extreme limits. A climber is not a crazy man. He is not trying to get himself killed. He knows what life is worth. He is in love with living. " - Walter Bonatti
"The greatest use of life is to spend it for something that will outlast it." - William James