The Last Month of Peace Corps Service

The last month that your boyfriend or girlfriend is in the Peace Corps can feel kind of rough.  It feels a bit like the training period of their service, except you know the end is in sight, which helps you power through, but also unearths some concerns.  What I mean is that there is less communication, and your volunteer will be extremely busy with COS (close of service), last-minute trainings, and last trips with their volunteer friends–which can make you feel a bit disconnected.   The toughest time in a long-distance relationship is the weekend; it can be lonely, and sometimes gives you too much time just sitting around reflecting, which can be sad and not great for the relationship.  Even though the last month can be really tough, I again tried to look at it like a positive thing–that it was my last month before he got back, so I tried to enjoy every thing that I loved about being by myself as much as possible.  I ate sushi, watched trashy TV, went to the spa, hung out with girlfriends, went hiking with girlfriends–and it was good. The other thing we did before the last month of craziness began, was we had a date weekend–where we made sure not to make other plans (although we both ended up having last-minute things we had to do), BUT we did get a solid day of Skyping in before the last month began, which helped us bond before the sporadic communication time kicked in.

Knowing that the last month was going to be a little tough for me, I called in reinforcements and booked my weekends solid.  My best friend flew in, and we gorged ourselves on sushi, sang karaoke, and set up my new TV.  My sister flew in, and we ate at wonderful restaurants, visited the fashion district, saw a movie and went to a couple comedy shows. On another weekend, I went to Disneyland with a girlfriend, had dinner with my boyfriend’s family, and hung out at a lovely brunch with girlfriends all Sunday afternoon.  The last weekend before he was to come home, I had one of my local girlfriends come over on Saturday (after the cleaning lady had left–super good decision), and we went over my crazy wish list of things I wanted to have done before he got back the following week–my friend looked at the list and said, “When did you want to get all this done by??”  Needless to say, we didn’t get everything done, but we did get a lot done, and she kept me sane for my last weekend alone, by just being around and making me laugh.

Writing all of this and thinking how in some ways, it is similar to the training period…I really don’t know if I would recommend the “keeping busy” approach to the first couple of months that your boyfriend or girlfriend is away.  I mean, I think it’s good to, of course, have other things to do besides pining for your boyfriend or girlfriend, but I also think the first couple of months when he or she is gone, it’s important not to distract yourself too much, you need to take that time to remind yourself that even though he (or she) is far away, and maybe not around as much as you like, that they are with you, and you are with them.  Maybe a tad cheesy, but I think it really helped me to miss my guy in those first couple of months and write in my journal as though he were here, it helped me feel connected.

Even though the last month is rough, the end is in sight, so my biggest piece of advice is that if anything is bothering you both, or you feel arguments coming up–try to prevent them if possible, as it might be better for actions and reactions to happen after you are both in the same place.  Distance makes things harsher in a lot of ways, so be as nice, patient, supportive and loving to each other as much as possible.

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