Sunday, December 14, 2008

So been here a year...what do I think(Actually 15 months)

How do I sum up, condense, and then express what I am feeling after being in this Peace Corps lifestyle for a while.  The problem with changing cultures and languages is that your head never can learn all of the new necessary skills without pushing out some of the older ones.  And unfortunately my english vocabulary has suffered.  So...lo siento in advance for the poorly worded jabberings that follow.  And as much as I have changed, I still have enginerding in my blood so I will try to keep this as short and sweet as possible.

Thoughts on PC service:
-Unique opportunity
-Isn't as serious about making a measurable difference as they say
-Isn't as creative as they say-almost everything has been done before and there is a way to do it
-Its just what you make of it(even though that sounds really cookie-cutter its the truth)
-Doesn't do anything but good for the volunteer and it is a great time to slow down, think, and learn

Ways I have changed:
-Daily expressions come out in spanish, not in english, and i have trouble translating them back to english
-Im a lot more comfortable with uncomfortable situations
-I don't care what people think about me
-I make sure I do things to keep me happy
-I expect about 10% of my goals to be accomplished and get excited if more than that gets done
-I don't get frustrated when people say things like "It's just complicated" because I say it a lot now
-I realize how smart I am
-I realize the things I am good at
-I see a whole bunch of things I am not good at
-I wash my hands less, generally worry about hygiene less
-For the first time in my life I am out of shape and am not really bothered by it
-I am more aware of how important strong friendships are
-I see my future as a really cool open opportunity, not as 'the real world' that is coming quickly and forcing me to make a decision
-I realize how short a lifespan is
-My manners have degraded significantly
-I am much more pessimistic about the world without being pessimistic about small achievements
-I am proud to be an American (I can't believe he is our President)
-I have slowed down
-Although I am less happy on a regular basis, I am happier with myself and with my life(ha, it's complicated)
-I realize I am rich, lucky, and priveleged but don't think I need to apologize for it
-The world is a whole lot smaller
-The world is a whole lot less diverse
-I grew up, without becoming even a little bit more mature

Aright, that is a pretty comprehensive picture of what I am thinking after having been here for a while.  And....it's complicated.  When people ask me if I like it here, I don't have an overjoyed reaction because there are ups and downs(these are like spikes on a lie detector, not smooth, gradual changes from good to bad).  Its complicated.  But when faced with the question of whether or not I would recommend the experience-that is easy.  Absolutely.  It is not easy, and its not all good or all bad.  It's a whole bunch of challenges and changes that are hard to put into words.  It messes with your emotions and with your values.  But just as I was told coming in, when one year comes around and you start looking past Peace Corps towards the future, I feel so lucky to be here.  And Peace Corps volunteers are the best group of young people I have ever met.  They are all real people and they all do bad things.  But they are all honestly trying to figure out life and live it in a worthwhile way.  They all get that.  It ain't easy and it ain't all good.  But it's life, this is the world, AND I AM ALL MIXED UP IN IT.  Feels good.

1 comment:

Ashley said...

I am so glad to know I have a friend like you. I miss you a lot. I hope to see you soon!