PCT Yearbook: Something I Can’t Live Without

We asked currently serving volunteers what they couldn’t go without during their service…

I couldn’t go without the love of my students! Is it weird that my best friends are under 10? – Abbey Weiler


Reusable/washable earplugs. – Anna McGillicuddy

The ability to let go. – Philip Hendrix

I can’t live without caffeine. Coffee, or green teas are mandatory everyday. How else do I keep up with these (crazy) awesome kids? Shout-out to my local 7/11 cafe that have my orders memorized! – Carissa Anderson 

I cannot go through service without P. Pui. I cannot do anything without P. Pui. Literally. She is my everything. Help. – Kaori Cierra Yamamoto

20180116_193106 (1)

I can’t live without my friends during service. I’ve found that they are truly the best Resources on this journey, and without them, I know that my experience would not be the same.  – Kara Anthony 

the nouns that sustain me

some books to nurture the daydreams,
hot sauce to keep things interesting,
and one worn journal for reflection and preservation.

our classroom where courage blooms,
front porches where we break bread,
and one lazy hammock for the mood swings.

the platonic soulmates who elevate me, one exceedingly generous family, and each of my 46 brilliant, kind, and brave students. – Rae Richards


When Day asked me to write about what I can’t live without, a gazillion things popped into my head. How do I choose just a few? After thinking long and hard, I chose the ones that address why I came, what keeps me here and what adds to my comfort: for physical and emotional well-being, I need the friendship of my counterparts and the smiles of my students that validate why I am here on a daily basis, I need the feeling of accomplishment that stems from being self-sufficient (I cook most of my meals in my apartment to make it home away from home), and being able to cater fully to my specific needs in a foreign soil, I need the support and constant communication with my family and friends that keep me grounded especially when I am lonely and depressed, I enjoy immensely the creature comforts such as my mobile electronic devices that 24/7 entertain me with books and videos, keep me in touch with family and friends through social media, and video and audio chats, allow me to maintain an exercise regimen among a myriad other things. – Triveni Rao


My husband of 33 years, Bradford, is the singular factor for my service with PCT. His love liberates me to embark on this pre-retirement learning journey. He is the anchor that keeps me sane during the expected rough times as a PCV. I could not live without Bradford’s rock-solid support from across the oceans. For that, I will always be grateful. –Lee-Hoon

I absolutely would not have made it this far in service without my natural hair products and moisturizers. My hair is naturally kinky, and dry. The very opposite of Thai people. My hair needs oil, whereas most Thai hair products tend to combat oily hair. I brought a suitcase full of products specifically to be able to tend to the plant that’s on my head, also known as the “Afro.” –Daylisha Reid


At site I couldn’t live without my 10 baht huge water jugs, my aerobics class with the yais, and my hair conditioner. – Clark Finkelstein 

Good Conversations
It’s 8 a.m.
And we’re at work
Communicating in languages
Nonnative to us
We barely understand each other
But when we do, it feels so good

It’s 12 p.m.
And we’re laughing,
Telling stories and asking all kinds of questions
Over coffee and tea
We just met, and we see the world differently
But your perspective enlightens me

It’s 5 p.m.
And we’re on the phone
Trying to catch up on our lives
In different time zones
We live on opposite sides of the world
But your voice brings me closer to you

It’s 2 a.m.
And we’re still up
Talking about everything, anything, and nothing
All at the same time
We really should go to bed
But this conversation is too good

Andrea Aribe_I can't live without

Connect with others, share experiences, exchange thoughts, create dialogues that inspire, and start conversations that matter. It’s a beautiful way to live. – Andrea Aribe

One thing I could not live without is my Bible. Whenever I need sound advice or affirming words, I can rely it to get me through. I also could never live without my journals – they play a huge role in my life and mental/emotional health! – Berline Exume

What I can’t live without here is my students. They’re the reason I’m here and they remind me of that every day! – Ali Talwar


Something I can’t live without is Apple Music. I love having every song and newly released albums readily available to me. Music is life. Although I’m miles away, it serves as way for me to connect with those back home. – Ruhamaiah Bradley 

I can’t go without a pair of these bad boys. They’re all-terrain, 100 Baht, and a timeless fashion statement. – Chandler Smith


An hour of yoga and meditation, two each for marathon training and singing, three and then some reserved for creativity. A dash of chocolate or peanut butter, inhaled as homemade cookie dough or protein bars. A slosh of carefully mixed essential oils for a massage before the week ends. I wouldn’t be the same without them. – Ashley Resurreccion

I can’t live without different foods. I love trying new foods. I love the memories that the different tastes and scents trigger. And I love the bonding and connecting it fosters! – Crystal Carter

I can’t go without
So many important things
Really, just coffee
Carly Allard

I absolutely cannot live without chocolate, namely KitKats. I make sure to have 1-4 a week. I also cannot live without Nescafe; a recent revelation upon arriving in Thailand, but now I cannot get enough of its sugary, relatively coffee-less goodness. Lastly, I am sure I could not live without my host mom. She is incredibly kind and has that tough-love motherly presence I need; I love her. – Nicholas Melrose 

During service I can’t live without internet. I have a really close relationship with my family and it is really important for me to talk to them everyday! – Tatiana Velez

I can’t go without those little moments of synchronicity that let me know that I’m on the right path. – Cat Nightengale


1. My family, both by blood and by choice. While we may feel like we’re sometimes alone in this experience, we’re truly not. That’s good because I can’t carry the weight of service by myself. I can’t enjoy successes by myself. I can’t overcome obstacles by myself. Fortunately, I have my Peace Corps family. I have my host family – and community family by extension because we’re all really just one ginormous family. I have my natural family. Humanity is fixed upon connection and community, and I wouldn’t be approaching my last six months of service with mine.

2. A music subscription. Music is my greatest sanctuary through the ebbs and flows of service. It helps me to manifest unspoken and sometimes otherwise unexplored emotions. It’s my coffee in the morning, my therapist when I’m emotional, my lullaby at night. It’s a wonderful force that breaks down cultural barriers, helping me to integrate into my community and communicate in ways I may otherwise may not be able to. Music is a high. It’s a language. It’s passion. It’s love. It’s empathy. It’s an unequivocal necessity. – McKenzie Paterson

One thing I can’t live without here is FaceTime. Seeing my friends and family’s faces has allowed me to feel close to those I love despite the distance. – Alex Cotrufello

My guitar. Keep myself occupied, reduce stress, connect with others, practice language. – Nathan Caballero


Something I can’t go without, pasta, I always have a small reserve of noodles and pasta sauce in case I get that craving nothing else can satisfy. – Halli Benson

The things I can’t go without during service are coffee, friends, family and hope. – Audrey Ardine

I used to have a juicer back in Denver
Now, I mix passion fruit, avocado splendour
No mixed fruits? I’d have a temper
Oh, how I can’t go without a blender
Gabe Reid

Hah I can’t live without my Pa. – Timothy Van Sickle


Two words. Spotify Premium. – Megan Cindric

Michael Marano

At first I was going to say something trite and corny but true like “friendship” or “community support,” but the more honest answer to what I couldn’t live at site without is my coffee pot. Best 300 baht I ever spent. Sure, coffee grounds are significantly more expensive than instant coffee, but I’m worth it. Nothing makes the sound of a 5am loudspeaker a littttle more bearable than a pot of fresh coffee. – Kat Giannini


Things I CAN’T GO Without: Based on a Prompt. – Andrey Shamshurin


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