The evacuation of 7367 Peace Corps Volunteers happened very quickly. Stand fast, consolidation, then we were all sent to our Homes of Record. We could say goodbye, kind of, and in Macedonia it meant we were all brought to a beautiful hotel in the capital to wait for a flight that was increasingly unlikely. We were finally put on one of the last flights out of Skopje airport and now we are all at home, bewildered by the whiplash of suddenly being in the United States again.
The days leading up to stand fast were so beautiful and warm. It was a very fitting but terrible goodbye. I have left behind friends, students, counterparts and family in a beautiful country. Two years of my life were mapped out, and now I have to start at the bottom again. This is where so many of us are; some Peace Corps volunteers were just starting out after university, others left careers to go abroad and add to the pool of knowledge there.
All of us from N Macedonia are in some home; we are in self-quarantine, which means different things to different people. But for now, it means that I am at home with my mother, still reeling from being torn away from what would have been my home for two years. I will miss my city and everyone who treated me with such kindness whilst I was there.
I did not want to end my blog this way. There were so many observations I wanted to make, and so many stories I wanted to share. Please think of me and the other volunteers as we navigate the future, especially in these strange times. I know we are not alone in trying to establish a new normal. Whatever happens, I hope we can return to N Macedonia or at least continue our service in some other way.