20 December 2008
Well, I am now officially one week into living at my permanent site. I really can’t lie it has been rather hard. My language skills aren’t overly fantastic, so at times I miss completely what was said. When I am tired, I can barely understand anything. The cold weather completely throws me off. What is this snow? Why are my toes cold all the time? I am missing my American family, my M_____ family, and my friends. I’m very much a schedule person, and right now, I don’t have a schedule. All together with so much more means that currently I am feeling a bit like a fish out of water.
The point of this post is neither to evoke sympathy nor to cry woe is me but rather attempt to give you a version of my reality. Things will not be peachy all the time. I know that, but now I must question why are things not peachy right now.
That answer is easily summed up with this word: me. I am the primary reason that this week has been hard. It’s been a self-wallowing week. And contrary to what you may think, I have allowed myself to wallow this week. Call it an entitlement issue if you will, but I think we are all allowed to wallow for a bit. The bit is determined by the situation. But I think a week has been more than reasonable for the adjustments I have recently made in my life. That all being said a week is enough. Now, I must go out and do what I came here to do: PCV it up.
I once told some friends during PST that on paper I am not a good Peace Corps candidate. On paper, one would think I belong in a lab where situations are carefully controlled, rationally explained, and meticulously detailed. There is a part of me that does enjoy the control, but a larger part of me rebelled against the lab coat a long time ago. (I still mourn for the lab coat from time to time.) I can be easily overwhelmed and painfully shy; the idea of introducing myself into a new community frankly scares me quite a bit.
Back in college, four years ago actually, I met a brilliant woman named Hallie. I must say that I still deeply admire her; she was so vibrant, intelligent, and talented. (We struggled through History of Anthropological Theory together.) Hallie once told me that she was in anthropology not because it was easy for her but because she was interested enough in the field to overcome the challenges. That idea has stuck with me.
If this were easy, would I really want to be a PCV? The answer is probably not. Of course there will be ups and downs, but this is only week one. I haven’t even given myself time to find my groove. (On the flip side, I have given myself time to adjust to my reality.) Right now, I am trying to overcome my largest obstacle in pursuing my own happiness and community integration, which is myself. It is weird when you can admit that, but that means you can still see the forest for the trees, right?
Everyday is like the first day of school, and I am the new kid at a school where everyone has been going to school together since kindergarten. Everyone knows I am the new kid. Some days, it is hard to get out the front door, but today, I am making myself get out the front door. My week is done. Now, back to the real world.