Telling Fiya

On Sunday’s Fiya, my 6 yr old granddaughter and I go skating at the International Skating Center of Connecticut in Simsbury. It was my Christmas present to her. She takes a group lesson then we skate together after. Yesterday her great-grandma asked me to dinner with them after skating.

During the week I talked to her grandpa, who she lives with, about telling her. We both agreed that I should tell her now and begin to prepare her for the change.

At dinner I started telling her great-grandma about the RPCV dinner I attended. I interrupted myself and asked Fiya if she had heard us talking about me going away to a new job. She said she hadn’t so I explained the basics.   When I said i would be far away I said I would like people to write me letters and send me email. I asked her to write and email and she said yes if she had help with the big words.

She asked about  all my stuff. I told her Nonie (her name for her great-grandmother) was storing some, Aunt Liz some as well and I was hoping she could take care of some of my things as well. I asked her to take care  of the hippopotamus from my car. she readily agreed and asked about the zebra from my car. So we negotiated and she will do it if I leave detailed feeding instructions.

We talked a little bit more about it then I continued my conversation with Nonie about the RPCV dinner.

I decided to take a low key approach. Acting like it was no big deal. By asking her to write and to take care of some of my things I hope to indicate that there will be a relationship however different.

Giving up being directly involved in two + years of her life is probably the biggest sacrifice I am making for this Peace Corps dream. She so young and she will change so much while I am gone.




  1. Sara said,

    January 28, 2008 at 1:08 pm

    That was beautiful; thank you for sharing. In all the blogs/mailinglists/forums/chatrooms/etc that I’ve lurked, the whole nebulous aspect of “telling” has been suspiciously absent. Thanks for including it in your story.

    I’m in a directly opposite position; I haven’t told my grandma. I’m still struggling with the where/when/how to let her know while making it as easy as possible on her.

  2. Vicky said,

    January 28, 2008 at 1:49 pm


    The telling is hard but often the person you tell surprises you. Fiya was hard for my heart but easy because I set the tone. I had thought about it ahead of time and decided that I would act like things were not really going to change very much and it was no big deal. She followed my lead.

    My mom was the hardest to tell and the last to come around. She’s 80. She has her one history and fears to deal with so that makes it doubly complicated. But I knew her and gave her plenty of time and lots of information and she’s on board now.

    I’ll have to follow your blog now. How come you know your date so far in advance? Andrew told me that I might not know until the end of April. auuuuggggghhhh!


  3. LOUISE said,

    January 29, 2008 at 7:55 am

    What an excellent way to keep the connection, by giving her a job as you do here. The communicaton wil be so much more than 40 years ago!

    Perhaps her school can be a partner school or partner something.. perhaps you will write a book, a series of letters to Fiya while overseas.

    There is another book, ” The Zin, Zin Road’ which was published in the ’60’s or ’70’s , fiction, about a PCV experience and I had ‘met’all the characters in my two years!!

  4. Sara said,

    February 5, 2008 at 11:26 pm


    I just came back here and saw your reply to my comment (thanks for the well wishes on my blog, by the way!). I agree with what you are saying re: the person you tell surprising you. My biggest hindrance to telling my grandma is her age and how knowing I’m leaving would affect her. She’s 78 and a natural worrier; the barrier of family between her and me all are telling me to wait until closer to June before breaking the news to her (less time to worry).

    As far as how I knew my date so early — I’ve only just begun to realize how lucky I was in that! I believe it’s because my original nomination was for a Feb departure (my recruiter interviewed me in Oct and nominated me for Feb!). My medical was cleared a few days before Christmas, but the week before that I’d already had a call from my PO, who said because my nomination was so close she had already started working on my file. THEN after all that med decided I had asthma (news to me!), so I wasn’t eligible for my original nomination… but since my PO already had cleared me for invitation it only took a few weeks to find out I was going to Ghana. My PO, incidentally, is really incredible: after reading others’ horror stories I realize I’ve been really blessed by that too.

    ANYWAY. Sorry that was so long — but at least I’m improving my one-handed typing skills. 🙂

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