Not that the conference didn’t allow for a little bit of that. I won’t get into the long string of events that led to a bunch of us having our own rooms this past week. Even though I live alone and I constantly have my own room, it was thrilling to have my own hotel room with air conditioning and a hot shower. I didn’t have to worry about sharing space or keeping my area clean or figuring out who has the key. And the cat wasn’t there to be all hairy and needy. It was awesome.
But Group 81 tends toward a “rest when you’re dead” mentality. We work hard, we play hard. Sleep gets put on the back burner. We’re a gregarious bunch, and we would often walk together from dinner to somebody’s room, where we would listen to music and reminisce and collectively dread the future late into the night.
There was excitement about reaching the end of our service and going back to America. And there was dread about leaving each other and going back to the frenetic pace of America. But more than excitement or trepidation, it seems to me we’re all mostly exhausted—not just in the immediate with the late nights and early mornings, but in a much larger sense.
It’s not palpable on a micro day-to-day level, but the Peace Corps is all about endurance. Some steps outside the comfort zone requires a person to adapt, and once that happens, that person is all the better. But other steps outside the comfort zone are flat-out uncomfortable, and you don’t learn to adapt and accept as much as you learn to tolerate and put up with.
Living alone, not having a car, cooking on a camping stove, having the water shut off as early as 10 o’clock some nights, the constant barrage of mosquito bites, dealing with issue after issue after issue in the computer lab. I don’t mean to complain as much as I mean to say that the Peace Corps lifestyle is taxing.
And it’s all in the spotlight. I briefly mentioned recently that during a trip to Corina 82’s school, I made a good impression because I ate my fish with my hands. As much as I take pride in being patted on the back for my cultural sensitivity, it’s telling that I was being watched. It’s not that her staff was spying on me or distrustful in watching me. I’m the stranger who came to lunch; of course people are going to watch me eat. All I’m saying is it’s wearisome to be the stranger in the spotlight, and I’m tired.
School starts tomorrow, and I’m pretty sure blog posts should become more frequent and reliable. Apologies again for being MIA last week. I hope you’re well. Pictures from COS below.
Country Director Dale toasted the group after afternoon sessions ended on Wednesday.
DJ Paul in the zone.
Lunch on Friday morning before heading back to Apia.
We've been in the middle of a 4- or 5-week dry spell. But torrential rains came Thursday and Friday. What great timing. Thanks, rain. You really liven up the beach.