During my first 3 months at site, I have been primarily concerned with the future.
“I have only 22 months left! That's less than 2 years!”
“If the Peace Corps experience was one week long, we would be coming up on midnight of the first day!”
But just recently I have become intrigued by the desires and expectations which brought me here to begin with. I was reminiscing with a fellow volunteer the other day about how we started applying for Peace Corps, and we both realized that we began the application and never looked back. I don't ever once remember thinking of applying to another job. Now, I'm not one to believe in fate of destiny or “everything happens for a reason,” but one almost has to think that way to make it through the first couple of months of service. Right now I'm trying to believe that somehow this life decision, to live here for 27 months of my life, is going to turn out to be completely worthwhile. Somewhere in my mind, I know I will look back on this experience with nothing but tenderness and gratitude.
Already I have had flickers of light shine on the murky future. When my 16 year old friend, Yvette, came over to my house with an officially stamped ticket inviting me to her dance performance, I realized I had won the respect and admiration of a local. When I walked down the street today to the chorus of children shouting their many forms of “Lindsay,” I knew I was no longer a tall, scary “vazaha,” but a welcome member of the community. (For the record my name sounds like: Wendy, Linny, Lindy, and my favorite, Lin-Chee!)
Stepping onto that plane leaving JFK airport, I threw my “what if” questions out the window and just trusted that Peace Corps was going to be something I could survive, even enjoy. When I walked home with my host family, not even able to say, “So what is your name?”, I put one foot in front of the other, hoping I was going in the right direction. And as I waved goodbye to the Peace Corps car and closed my door on the first night alone in my home, I let out a sigh and began the next 2 years of my life.
Someone said that Peace Corps will cause you to experience your lowest lows and highest highs. Even within one day of Peace Corps service I can feel those two extremes, but I'm realizing now what little time I have to feel these feelings and sense these surroundings. 2 years will probably not be enough, and did I mention I only have 22 months left?!