Each year Peach Corps Thailand welcomes a new group of volunteers. I arrived in January, as did the group before me, and the group before them. There are so many things that I wish I knew then that I know now. When I have these realizations I quickly write them down with the intent of passing them along, like some small pebble of advice, smooth stones in my pockets. Unfortunately, my mind gets a little lost in the flow and it trickles away. Maybe I’ll have some small tidbits in the future to share, maybe it will escape me. I wrote this small bit in my carry-around journal. I think it is just as applicable to those outside of Peace Corps, so hopefully it resonates with you.
To Group 125:
Do not be so American, so proud, that you cannot ask for help. We have an inner drive, as people who strive for success, to say, “No, it’s okay. I can do it on my own.” The truth is is that a generation of people before you worked long and hard to perfect many crafts, even simple ways of living.
You’re in a new world and it is not your own.
Before you think you can do it alone, or that you can do it better without first mastering your predecessors, or without paying homage to their works in your recreation, think again.
Do not be so prideful to refuse asking for help, do not shun the ways (even so properly, discreetly) of what has worked for so many before you, for your sake. Trust me, you’ll want to ask, learn and go in with an open heart. The more you let yourself go, live in a world of comfortable vulnerability, the more you will find yourself. And who of us is not on a quest to find ourselves, after all? Then, most of all, listen with the most intent ears in the world.