And that’s putting it simply.
I’m frustrated with mosquitoes, with walking long distances in sweltering heat, sweating out my good clothes, and of always feeling dirty and grimy. I haven’t washed my hair in days…
But frustration is a big part of what it’s like to be a volunteer. We’re in a new place, dealing with new situations, and presently, being lectured day in and day out while living out of a suitcase. After being sworn-in, I’ll have a whole new set of frustrations to deal with.
We are reminded repeatedly that Peace Corps service is as much of a challenge as it is a reward. This post isn’t all rainbows and butterflies, and you should be aware that there will probably be more like it in the future. This blog is my outlet; a place for my voice to be heard, and I intend to use it as such. I’m speaking freely here. It is my platform, after all.
My first grievance is with training. They weren’t kidding when they said it will drain you. We spend seven hours a day sitting in our professional clothing (after first walking and sweating in them), listening to lectures, and trying to get a grasp on what it is we’re going to be doing. We receive a broad view, yet every assignment varies in degree. We still have not been placed, and I for one am getting antsy.
Training isn’t terrible – don’t misunderstand – but the days seem to be dragging on. I have questions that still haven’t been answered and I am forced to find within myself another daily dose of patience.
I just want to be placed already! I am tired of living out of a suitcase, having no idea what my next living and working situation will be like. I want control of my diet (my host mom prepares most of my meals), and I want to dictate my own schedule. Right now, we go and do what Peace Corps tells us to. I’m ready for the next stage, and we still have four more weeks to go.
The problem with me is that I have a pessimistic side. I try to keep it at bay, but through my frustration, it’s coming out faster than I can stop it. What if this, and what if that? This past week, I’m afraid I lost sight of what I wanted. Homesickness is setting in, and the temptation to give in became overpowering. With the help of friends and family, I managed to steer myself back on course long enough to commit myself to the end of training. At the moment, it’s hard to see much further than that.
I suppose I miss the conveniences I’m accustomed to. I had internet at my fingertips and a set of car keys in my hands. I exercised regularly, and ate my favorite foods with my favorite people, while watching my favorite TV shows. Do we see a pattern here? I’m still adjusting to this new life. I walk into a supermarket and scan the shelves for something familiar. I long to see a car where the steering wheel is on the left side. I keep two quarters in my wallet, because they’ve become memorabilia.
On a more positive note, I had a unique shadowing experience. I travelled out to St. Thomas last week (by myself, via public transit) to shadow a PCV from Group 83 who is like me in many ways. We bonded instantly, sharing a love for arts & crafts (primarily of the string kind), kids, teaching, and The Big Bang Theory. We are the same age and share many other similar interests. Visiting her shed some real light on what the next two years might be like for me. It answered some questions, and raised a few others. More importantly, it gave me a chance to really consider what I am doing here in Jamaica and if it is something I could be happy with. I’m still not a hundred percent sure of the answer, but I suppose that is okay for now.
In the meantime, it would help to hear from my friends back home. I have limited internet, and I find I miss the camaraderie Facebook usually has to offer. Instant messaging and texting have become a thing of the past. I would hate for sparse communication to cause a divide between my closest comrades and me. Always remember that I have email, and still do my best to check it daily. I’d really love to hear from you.
For now, the most logical course of action is to keep my chin up and hope for the best. Four more weeks of training; here we go.