The day that I leave for the Dominican Republic is finally here and with it comes a lot of reflections, doubts, and questions. Simple logistical questions like, how am going to get to the school where I'm teaching everyday or I wonder if there's a gym around where I live. But also questions about the impact I'll be making on the kids I'll be teaching to. Does this mission service the most pressing matters this beautiful country faces? Is there a way that in one short year I can make a difference in their lives? How does culture impact education with regards to girls and boys? Obviously I don't have the answers to these questions but after re-reading The Alchemist by Paulo Coelho, I know that not knowing all the answers is ok. In fact, after re-reading the book on my planes ( I had a connection in Panama) I realized that all the doubts, questions, fears I was (and am) still feeling are completely normal when one is following their personal calling.
For those who haven't read the book, you should;everyone can take something away from it. It talks about following omens or signs the universe leaves us, signs that lead us to our personal calling. Now, I'm not sure if this trip is my true personal calling but it's a step to finding out what my personal calling might be. Looking back all the way to high school, meeting John Powers at a leadership conference led by the Rotary Club was the beginning of the journey that would lead me here. I remember the first year at the conference, I was a junior in high school and eager to travel hearing about the great work that John and the DRMT were doing in the DR. I immediately asked my parents but unfortunately they thought I was too young to go and I thought that the mission would never happen. Life went on and I kept working with Rotary Club, securing a facilitator role at the same exact conference as the year before. Little did I know that John would be speaking again and this time, I wasn't going to let my parents say no. I presented my arguments for going on the trip and that was that, I was officially going to the Dominican Republic with the DRMT.
Here I am, four years later, a bachelor's degree in hand, moving to the Dominican Republic to teach for a year at a school that truly holds my heart. Many might say, that's not the traditional route, but I've never been that way. I act a lot on dreams and impulses and signs but ultimately I'm doing what makes me happy. I wouldn't be here without such supporting parents, letting me live with them while I saved money, those who kindly donated to my trip and such a great support system both in the DR and in the USA. Now it's time to give back to the students and families of the school who have completely melted my heart and more importantly taught me that no matter what situation I'm in, there's always hope. Yes, I still have doubts and fears about living on my own and figuring things out but I know that I have great people around me and that this is truly where I am supposed to be at this stage in my life.