Have you decided where you will live after the Peace Corps?

Just watched the movie with Drew Barrymore and Justin Long about long-distance dating….wanted to share some thoughts.

It seems to me their biggest problem was the uncertainty of when they would be together, which is not really an issue of a Peace Corps LDR.  That said, the element of where to live, was a hot issue in the film, which is also a point after Peace Corp is over and you can be in the same place more easily but still have to worry about a job (especially for a returning PCV) where it might be a bit of a challenge (especially in today’s economy).

There was a point while my boyfriend was in Kenya where I did need to know what was going on in his head about where he wanted to live after since we had never explicitly discussed what would happen.  I can’t remember exactly what it was that prompted me, but it was on my third visit to Kenya, and I noticed that there were certain times when referring to the future that instead of using the word “we” he would use the word “I” which honestly made me a tad nervous. I was still fairly confident that the future held a life that would include “us” not just him, but I decided to clarify one night. So I brought up “the after” time and what that meant for us….did he envision going to work in another country or another state if the opportunity was a good one career-wise or was he planning to be where I was living regardless. Again, even though I thought I knew the answer, I needed to absolutely be sure, because I didn’t want a surprise after the two years to hit me with him in yet another country and a continuation of a long-distance relationship, that I could not do, two years was my limit.  Same for the idea of him extending his service to three years, which I also brought up as a concern early on, and even though I don’t think he eliminated that idea from the get go, I think as our relationship progressed and time passed in his service, he knew the best thing for him and us was only  serving out the two years.

So back to where we would live after his service.  My career is very specific to geography, and I knew for me that the two places I could happily live and pursue my passion were Los Angeles and New York. So for him to find a job, I gave him those two areas as an option for looking for a job. Luckily he found something in the field he wanted close by, so we didn’t have to make any real tough decisions, but at one point when it was looking kind of difficult to really secure a position in one of those areas, we started the conversation of potentially living an hour away from each other by plane which neither of us was super thrilled about.  Our goal was to live in the same city, and until we had exhausted that potential, we really didn’t want t think or talk too much about different cities.

I would definitely recommend that the conversation of where you will live is discussed maybe 2/3 of the way through your PCV’s service–it will help both of your expectations and help them target jobs in the areas that they will be seeking.