Sunday, August 01, 2010

Blinded by the Light

Senior year of high school, I wrote a play for my school’s annual one-act festival. Until that point, my only interaction with my high school’s drama program was when I acted in another one-act play at the festival the year before. Given my lack of face time with the drama department, it seems like it should have been more difficult to be entrusted with writing and directing my own play. And when I approached the drama teacher, I hadn’t written a single word. But I remember I asked him quite directly, “If I write a one-act, can I direct it?” That was all it took.

I was given the affirmative immediately, and I still look back and wonder why it was so easy. On one hand, I can’t imagine most other students had any interest in writing and directing a play; it’s possible that most anyone who asked would have been given the green light. Then again, I think by that point in my high school career, the drama teacher knew me by reputation, and by nature of being a senior I probably approached with an assuring nonchalant confidence, and that was enough.

I bring this up because I feel like I’m at that same point right now. My level of comfort and confidence in Samoa makes me feel like I have a certain level of control in my destiny here. After nearly 2 years of learning the ropes, I feel like I could saunter up to someone in charge, request permission for some personal pet project, and receive that person’s blessing.

I’m not being literal. I have no pet project in mind, and receiving permission for something would depend on what it was and who I asked and how I asked. Blah blah blah.

My point is I’m at the point in my Peace Corps experience where I feel comfortable and empowered and tuned into The Way Things Work. Jen and Tommy’s plane gets delayed, Digicel service is awful lately, the cat can’t seem to use the litter box, I’ve got a computer in the lab that emits a high-pitched shriek when I turn it on, Blakey needs a Tahitian leaf belt, and I desperately need to do laundry. Last August these issues were much more perplexing—a year later they’re a lot less trying.

And just like senior year of high school, I’ve reached this cool confidence just as it’s time to go. Isn’t that the way it always seems to work? The party’s at its most fun just before the lights go up and it’s time to leave.

And there’s a certain amount of dread in leaving this newfound comfort zone. I like where I’m at, and I’m not so keen going back to life in America, which from this vantage point seems a little chaotic.

Standing and eating/drinking? Stores open on Sunday? Closed-toe shoes? Heathens.

It’s funny, but it’s true. I’m comfortable here, and I’ve still got time left. The light at the end of the tunnel seems like a nice idea, but light can be blinding and disorienting—like coming out of the movies after a matinee showing. That sunlight takes some adjustment.

I hope you’re well. Pictures below of last Thursday's soccer match (taken by Chris 81).


Joey 81.

That's me doing "robot arms" in the middle of the photo. The guy in yellow on the right is the CEO of TradePac. I took his photo the day before the match while visiting my school's sponsors with my pule.


Anonymous said...

How did you take the picture with you in it?

Unknown said...

Do they call it "football" in samoa? or "soccer".

Unknown said...

enjoyed this blog Matt!! enjoy ur last few months!!!!