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Author Topic: Free time - what did you do to fill it?  (Read 5700 times)

David

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Free time - what did you do to fill it?
« on: November 29, 2013, 11:28:54 AM »
I hear that there is a lot of down time when you are in the Peace Corps.  During my down time I plan to read a lot of books I guess.  I hope I don't look back and think I wasted the free time I had. 

Any ideas or projects I should consider?

How did some of you volunteers take advantage of the large amounts of free time?

Offline byronlwilliams

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Re: Free time - what did you do to fill it?
« Reply #1 on: November 30, 2013, 04:26:07 PM »
write letters home (by hand)
take up a language that you'll be able to use stateside or language of need as specified by the U.S. Foreign Service
work out
do memory activities
practice a martial art
learn or improve computer skills (MS Office, Mac iLife, Mac iWorks)
take random local transportation then find your way back home.  Do this to become familiar with your community.  Make sure you do it safely though
Research prospective job fields and stay abreast of their industry trends
Research grad schools (Peace Corps Fellows and otherwise)
Create a post-PC financial plan and/or goal timeline based on your readjustment allotment

Offline shawn

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Re: Free time - what did you do to fill it?
« Reply #2 on: December 01, 2013, 09:38:27 AM »
During my first 2 years, I wrote alot, acquired a really old typewriter, and then wrote even more. Language is another really good one. So is reading. I also bought a guitar with the intent of mastering it. Something's you can learn in 2 years; for me guitar wasn't one of them...

once I had reliable electricity, I did watch way too much tv/movies. I feel like that's one of the drawbacks of a volunteer corps with computers. But once it started to get to me I got into better films. Documentaries, classics, all of Bond.

I also took up the Rubik's cube (I printed out solution step and new algorithms once I got good enough to actually solve it.

the main thing to ask yourself is what do you do with your free time now? You can probably adapt to be able to do in here...
PCVL - Rwanda 2010-2013
NPCA Serving Volunteer Advisory Council

Offline Marion

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Re: Free time - what did you do to fill it?
« Reply #3 on: December 01, 2013, 02:26:46 PM »
One of the reasons I thought the Peace Corps would be interesting was that (I thought) I would be isolated from the constant background noise and distractions we have here.  I am talking about tv, movies, phone calls, etc. 

As it turns out the Peace Corps is a lot different than it was 30 years ago.  Most people have cell phones, electricity and some form of internet and laptops.  I had all that and so found myself downloading and watching the TV shows I would have been watching in the states.  This is a personal choice though.  I know of people who lived without that for the experience of it. 

However, I still had TONS of free time and did some things I never had done before.

Back home I loved to cycle.  In my second year of service I bought a good mountain bike from an ex-pat and began riding every day.  20 - 40 miles per day.  One month I set a goal of riding 1,000 miles in a month and did it. 

Writing.  There is something called November Novel Writing Month.  With the encouragement of NaNoWriMo I actually churned out a book last November.

Travel.  We took some awesome vacations and saw a lot of Africa.

Have fun...
Marion
RPCV, Botswana (2011-2013)

Offline Lostine

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Re: Free time - what did you do to fill it?
« Reply #4 on: December 01, 2013, 02:51:00 PM »
I had about the same amount of free time in Peace Corps as I did before and after, and I did the same things I did (and do) here in the states.  I was pretty busy as a volunteer. 

I read, wrote letters, kept a journal, took a computer workshop from another PCV (this was 1987-1990) got a tutor for Spanish, sewed some clothes, cooked, washed clothes and dishes by hand, shopped, talked to neighbors, talked to other PCVs, went on long overnight hikes in the mountains.  just about everything I did before and after Peace Corps except write letters (I really only wrote letters while in Peace Corps.)  I didn't and don't watch TV or movies,  I do participate in on line forums and facebook and if I do Peace Corps again I would blog and try to stay active in the forums and facebook.  I was very focused on my work as a volunteer, if I am so fortunate to do Peace Corps again I would try to balance work with building relationships and learning more about the culture.

Marya


ED

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Re: Free time - what did you do to fill it?
« Reply #5 on: December 01, 2013, 03:01:43 PM »
If you make yourself part of the community, you'll have no free-time. You'll be so busy, you'll not know where the time went!

redmaypril

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Re: Free time - what did you do to fill it?
« Reply #6 on: December 01, 2013, 04:39:32 PM »
I hung out with people. I liked the fact that I didn't always have to make conversation. I could just sit and watch and smile. I did paint by number (don't laugh) to decorate my hut and cross-stitch as well. LOTS of reading and writing. I hand wrote all my letters and sent them to my mother, who would type them up and send them out to family and friends. I still have those letters. If I felt a lack of motivation, I'd visit other volunteer's sites to see what work they were doing, and to have America time as well. I also studied for the GRE and got a kick butt score and applied to grad school. I had lots of free time, even though looking back I did a lot of projects as well. But sometimes there was a few weeks gap where I had nothing to do but hang out.

Offline iogburu

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Re: Free time - what did you do to fill it?
« Reply #7 on: December 16, 2013, 11:42:11 AM »
I wrote a blog post on how I spent my free time: http://ihudiyaogburu.com/2012/03/

I used my free time to grow as a person and explore hobbies. This is a unique opportunity to learn something new or enjoy the company of yourself and others. Overall, depending how you spend your free time I hope it is a time well spent because the hustle and bustle of life may make us lose out on that time later.

Offline PeaceCorps1

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Re: Free time - what did you do to fill it?
« Reply #8 on: January 22, 2014, 06:03:36 AM »
I packed Scrabble, coloring book, three historical/biography type books that I'd never read at home, my iPad, my tension exercise band, and a list of articles to write.
"If it were not for the reporters, I'd tell you the truth"', President Chester A. Arthur

Offline PeaceCorps1

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Re: Free time - what did you do to fill it?
« Reply #9 on: December 19, 2014, 11:16:29 PM »
If you make yourself part of the community, you'll have no free-time. You'll be so busy, you'll not know where the time went!

This is the politically correct answer that is so tiring. We are human. The 'community' is draining. Of course, we all are told repeatedly to 'integrate'. However, you will still have the hours of boredom.

Suggestions:
1. make a to do list for the week, the year, the vacation time
2. start a really good healthy regime that you rarely did at home (flossing, hair conditioning, sit ups, daily word search).
3. When you want to talk to PCVs come on this site as it is nicer than the PC FB groups.
"If it were not for the reporters, I'd tell you the truth"', President Chester A. Arthur