Volunteer or Returned Volunteer?

It has been 50 days since my injury and 44 days since I was medically evacuated from Mexico. I spent each day trying not to worry about my future, putting my efforts into healing rather than worrying about what lies ahead.

Well, today I can finally think about my future because today I found out whether or not Peace Corps cleared me to return to Mexico.

Med-evac has been a busy time. One in which my ankle has been:

Acupunctured • Iced • Elevated • Heated • Soaked • Braced • Casted • Shocked • Stretched • Massaged • X-rayed • Ultrasounded • MRIed


Hardly a moment went by where my ankle was not undergoing one of these treatments. No one can say that we did not try our best to rehab it quickly. No one can say that the 23 doctor’s appointments did not do any good. Today I feel better than I have in almost two months.

However, my injury was much more severe than we had all predicted. The MRI results show that I dented and bruised the Talus bone, that I pulled a muscle that connects my ankle with my knee, and that I tore several ligaments. Even with diligent care, an injury that traumatic cannot be healed on fast-forward.

Therefore, as we turn the calendar from March to April I will go from Medically Evacuated status to Medically Separated. I will join a family of more than 200,000 Returned Peace Corps Volunteers. There is no shame in it. As I said before, my health is the most important priority.

I am proud of what I was able to accomplish during my year and a half in Mexico:

Even though my time was truncated, I did it.

I did it!

Three cheers, I did it!


So what does this mean?

It means that my rehabilitation will continue throughout the next month, and that I will have a full recovery. I will be able to run and hike again!

It means that I will continue to celebrate small victories; being able to stand up long enough to make a Moroccan-Inspired Carrot Salad that makes my mom say “mmmmmm!” between each bite.

It means that I will re-imagine new directions for my life.

It means that as soon as I am able, I will return to Mexico to say goodbye on my own terms.

It means that I will throw away my re-entry visa and unpack my suitcase.

I have returned.



How you can support me

Throughout my Peace Corps service, you have all been great at supporting me. When you heard that I was medically evacuated, I was overwhelmed with your love. I had Americans crossing their fingers for me. I had Mexicans praying. Germans were pressing their thumbs.

I am so grateful for all of the cards, emails, care packages, phone or Skype dates, and flowers that sit next to my dent in the couch. Thank you so much for taking the time to maintain our relationship.

During the coming months, here are some ways you continue to support me:

  1. Keep reading the blog as I transition it from that of a Peace Corps Volunteer to that of a Returned Volunteer finding her way once more

  2. Share any book/music/pop culture recommendations you might have (I am still fairly glued to a couch)

  3. Please continue to send the love and encouragement via letters, e-mails, packages, ect.

  4. Tell me how you are doing. It gets old talking about myself all the time.


Making me smile

  • Getting clearance to use a stationary bike and to swim laps without kicking. The past seven weeks without much movement has been killing me
  • Finally leaving the limbo, letting go of temporary me and former me; accepting present me and imagining future me
  • Watching my dad virtually via a satellite tracker as he sails off into the Pacific; so far, he is about 1,500 miles off-shore. Go dad, go!



3 responses to “Volunteer or Returned Volunteer?

  1. As always, your words said it perfectly. I know your community in Mexico was so blessed to have you as you have been so blessed by them. We wish you all the best on your new adventures and look forward to continuing to follow all of them on your blog. Keep in touch and here’s to the next chapter in your life, and a speedy, but full recovery. J&M

  2. I’m sorry to hear of your forced departure! But I am glad to hear you will make a full recovery. Thanks for all your energy, ideas, positivity, and best wishes with everything in the future. Stay in touch!

  3. Hi,
    We miss you here in Mexico. I hope the ankle is recovering by now and that you find exciting new challenges! Thanks for all you did as a Volunteer while you were in Mexico!

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