Monday, December 8, 2008

On the Journey

Occasionally, I become a bit philosophical....

7 December 2008
Again, Tunar, my 13-year-old host brother, is playing with the pec, matches, and benzene. I am surprised he still hasn’t blown us up, and he is testing my language skills as I am telling him to please put the burning piece of paper inside the pec. I choose life, and Ana will not be happy if we both die on my watch. Tunar and I are home alone today. Ana and Gunay are at a wedding, and Ata is at a wedding. Now I know we can both stay home alone just fine, but Ana told me to watch him. I guess I should be grateful for the language practice.
But this entry is not supposed to be about Tunar trying to light the house on fire. Rather, I am going to write about the walk I went on today. I found myself in the house all day without a normal diversion, so I went for a walk. I told myself that I would walk for about an hour and set off with no destination in mind. Left my house, hooked a right, and kept going. I am wandered around looking for empty spaces, letting my mind drift.
Beginning to reflect on Pre-Service Training, I realized that we often think about the past or the future. Rarely are we just in the moment. What about the now? What about the present? The present is a hard concept to contemplate – mainly because the present is ever fleeting. In some ways, my walk became an allegory. We either walk with the destination as the goal or with where we have been in mind.
Left, right, left, right. I thought about each step I was taking, about the wind blowing, about the construction going on around me. It didn’t matter where I was going only where I was in that moment. I saw a large puddle to the left of the path, and as the wind made ripples on the water, it reminded me of the rice fields around my grandmother’s house in Louisiana.
All I have been hearing lately from PCTs is that they cannot wait to get to site, they cannot wait to start projects. I too am anxious to get to Lerik and start Peace Corps-ing. But we are Peace Corps-ing now.
Without the journey, the destination will not be a prize. When I was writing my senior thesis, I could not wait for it to be completed. I wanted to see the bound copy. But if the process had been easy or quick, I would have never felt the pride that I did when I printed my thesis out.
I guess all I wanted to say is that when I do get to site, I hope I stop every now and then just to enjoy the moment. When the moment passes, it will never come back again.