the end.

my dad sent me an email today. in the subject line were two words: the end. for me, this is the end. of my peace corps service, spending time with some really great people and living with the best host family any volunteer could ask for. i leave georgia in the early morning on the 21st and i can tell you right now, i will be back here. whether it’s next year or the year after that, i will be back. 

saying good bye to my host family was probably the hardest thing i’ve ever had to do. even when i left for the peace corps over 2 years ago i didn’t really cry. i knew that i would see my parents again. but this, this was different. my heart ached, i was gasping for breath and all of this on public display in the bus to the capital. 


        i fell in love with these people – badri, luda, margo and nutsa

on friday all the teachers from my school came over to the house for a massive supra filled with food, drink and music. it was nice to see all the teachers one last time. so many of them have made my time in georgia more meaningful. especially since i didn’t particularly enjoy teaching, but going to school and seeing the teachers i was closest to made my day brighter. and getting pinches on the tush often were slightly uncomfortable, but they were done out of love. i’m convinced that’s true.


                                    all the teachers at the house

on saturday evening, i went over to my counterpart’s house one last time. i wanted to say goodbye to her family and her little girl. we ate and drank some more and nutsa danced for us. she is such a beautiful little girl and i can’t wait to come back to the village and see her all grown up.



as for any regrets i might have: sure, i have some. but at the end of the day i did what i could with the time i had and the resources that were around me. volunteers melissa and her husband sam summed my thoughts and feelings up perfectly in one of their blog posts here: Go Kartli: What we expected (melissa and sam’s blog is great! take a peruse for a glimpse into what life was like for a married couple in a minority community).

tomorrow morning at 4 am i board a plane with some friends bound for turkey. in 10 days, i will be home. i am no longer a peace corps volunteer, but will always be a peace corps volunteer.

i do want to go out with a positive note. my peace corps friends and i all got together over the past few days to rehash stories of uncomfortable belly sicknesses and counterpart craziness, lots of sangria and promises of keeping in touch and getting together back in america. we’ll all see each other again. and when we do, we’ll have this one experience that will bind us forever. as corny as that sounds, it’s undeniably true. peace corps is one of those rare experiences that is shared by all those who’ve done it, regardless of country of service. and when we all get together, we’ll only remember the great times we had. as it should be.

i do believe that ernest hemingway said it best:

 “it is good to have an end to journey toward; but it is the journey that matters, in the end.”

thank you for reading, for coming along on this journey with me and for all of your kind comments. 


 ნახვამდის საქართველო. თქვენ ყოველთვის ჩემს გულში. 


About kjschaefer

peace corps volunteer in the republic of georgia.

4 responses to “the end.”

  1. Sue Podsiadlik says :

    Kaitlin, what a moving good-bye. Thank you for sharing your journey so that we could also learn a bit about life as you’ve known it in Georgia. Take care on your travels in Turkey and God bless you!

    • k. schaefer says :

      thank you so much! i’m so glad you enjoyed the ride with me. turkey has been great so far! exploring ephesus today. i’m sure i’ll see you at the library soon :]

  2. Jan Baude says :

    Dear Kaitlin,
    Jan and I are so very proud of you and what you have accomplished. Have a great time in Turkey. I know how much your dad & mom are looking forward to having you back in Detroit. I know the future will offer you some wonderful opportunities. Far be it for me to take issue with your father, but I’m betting that this is really “The Beginning”.


    Ken & Jan

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