One day, I am going to work for the Department of State as a Foreign Service Officer. I have always dreamed of seeing the world, even as a kid.
So…at the age of 24, I joined Peace Corps…
…and was swept away to The Land of No Toilet Paper in Niger, West Africa. To live in a mud hut, no electricity, no running water. Talk about dropping your tools.
But this was not the hardest part. The most challenging part was living with the Hausa people. They told me, “Rabi, if you go out in the sun long enough, you’ll turn black.” They also told me, “Don’t stay out in the sun too long because it will give you malaria.” Yeah. But these opportunities to see life differently are some of my fondest memories.
Coming back to America, I experienced reverse culture shock. Supermarkets were fascinating. My mother took me to the store to buy bread. I couldn’t even pick out a loaf because there were so many choices. While I was about to have a brain aneurysm, Mom grabbed a loaf of bread and gave me a weird look, “Well, I like this one.”
This loaf of bread is a symbol of the tools I had before Peace Corps. After two years without these tools, I was lost. I looked at everything in a whole new light. I noticed the cost, the varieties, that <gasp>, everything is written in English.
Now that I’m back in America, it takes me 5 seconds to grab the loaf I want, and I’m out. I miss dropping my tools, and I want to get that novel feeling back.
This brings me back to: What else am I going to do to become a Foreign Service Officer? It’s important for me to get my MBA because it will set me apart from those who may not have a Master’s. Another reason I’m in this program is to learn about leadership. At the very least, I need to learn to lead myself in order to achieve my vision.
I would like to leave you now with a beautiful quote by Marcel Proust reads: “The real voyage of discovery consists not in seeking new landscapes, but in having new eyes.”