Welcome! Thank you for showing interest in my blog and the next two years of my life as a Peace Corps Volunteer in Colombia! Allow me to introduce myself: My name is Monica Malcomson and I am 26 years young. I love puppies, babies, the elderly, spontaneous conversations with strangers, and trying bizarre foods. I graduated from Sacred Heart University (SHU) in 2013 with a degree in Psychology and two minors in Sociology and Spanish. In 2015, I received a Masters in Teaching from SHU, and I am licensed and certified by the state of Connecticut to teach grades k-6th.
My lifelong journey started in Jao Pessoa, of Paraiba Brazil where humble beginnings led me to the miracle of my mother, Karen Malcomson. I am an only child to a single mom. Needless to say, she is my best friend, my biggest fan and my everything! This incredible woman also experienced life in Peace Corps and completed her service in Tanga. My mom adopted me when I was only 6 weeks old and since, we have shared a beautiful life together on the East End of Long Island, NY. As a nurse practitioner in psychiatry and the director of a mental health clinic, my Mom has also inspired my love of helping people do their best and work towards being their very best selves. With her endless support and my steadfast desire to do what I love, I found my passion for dance and began my first classes at the age of two. For those of you that know me well, you also know that dance is deeply woven into who I am and that I thrive on this art! I undoubtedly believe that I was born with this passion, that it twirls through my veins and is rooted in the vibrant history of the South American culture. If there are two things I can’t live without (besides my Mommy), they must be dance and music.
So why Peace Corps? Why now? Why Colombia? I’m sure you have already begun putting the pieces together, but I’d love to share a sweet and simple explanation with you. The Peace Corps is an organization I’ve known about since a little girl, as I grew up hearing first-hand accounts of my Mom’s experience as a midwife in Tanga. You know, the usual: cutting umbilical chords with machetes, living in small huts with indigenous tribes, collecting rain water to boil and drink, and eating nearly 3 different things for 3 years (of course there is much more substance to a PC experience and these references only scratch the surface). Around Thanksgiving of 2014, I was home from grad school, snuggling in bed with my Mom. She asked me what I think my plans are for next year when I graduate. The normal parent questions: Where are you going to apply for a job? Are you going to look for work by school, in the city or come home? What are you going to do with the education that we spent a million dollars on!? Like some students, I replied, “I have no idea”. However, at the time, I knew a couple things for sure: 1. I loooooved teaching and definitely wanted to continue; 2. I wanted to travel, explore the world and become fluent in Spanish; 3. I eventually wanted to work close-by to my hometown and move back in with my Mom; and 4. I would be dirt broke after graduate school. So, during this snuggle-sesh/chinese picnic (a mother-daughter ritual, where we order Chinese food, lay out some old towels and eat it in bed with the pups), my mom mentioned that she had been looking over the Peace Corps website. Of course she became very nostalgic and revisited some stories that I have heard countless times before, reinventing and weaving in new exciting details as she does each time. She simply said, “You should take a look and see what it has to offer.” I knew what she meant by this: “Monica. You should apply! It will be a family tradition and should you be accepted, you will treasure the experience for the rest of your life.” I agreed. I knew the timing was perfect, that it would be a life-changing decision, and enriching journey. With the deadline approaching, I needed to get the ball rolling fast. A week or two later, my online application was in and the waiting game commenced.
First, I was offered Uganda and as much as I would love to travel to Africa, I knew I wanted a Spanish-speaking home for my PC service. After declining this offer, redirecting my application to be considered in departments related to my two goals of Spanish and teaching, and waiting and waiting for months on end, I was offered both Costa Rica AND Colombia. A dream come true! BUT, I was also told I could only move forward in pursuit of one. After concentrated deliberation, asking family members, friends and coworkers on their perspective, I made my decision. Despite the fact that 98% of the people I spoke to immediately said “Costa Rica!”, I wholeheartedly and confidently chose Colombia (in another post, I’ll provide a detailed elaboration as to why I made this choice). Nonetheless, I knew whatever choice I chose to make would be the right one.
So here I am! Writing this entry, and beginning this new path! I’d be delighted if you choose to follow my blog and share this new branch of life with me. I have no idea where this road will take me but woooooo what a ride it will be!