Early Termination (E.T.) (verb) [ur-lee tur-muh-ney-shuh n] 1. When a PCV exits their service prematurely Example: “Another one bites the dust.” “Oh? Who ET-ed?” “No, I mean another friend just got married. But it’s the same thing.”
I have a love/hate relationship with Facebook these days. I enjoy that I am still connected with my friends, but the flipside is that every week, someone else has either gotten married or engaged. It’s a painful reminder of the fact that I’m still single, broke, and jobless.
“But April, Peace Corps is your job now.”
Oh please! I can’t decide if this is a never-ending version of riding the Tilt-o-Whirl, or It’s A Small World After All. And if I choose the latter, I’m not sure if I’m in the little boat, watching and learning about this new culture, or if I’m a little mechanical doll, and everyone else is staring at me.
The other day, I smiled at a curious child and made him cry.
My friends and family are supportive. They tell me what I’m doing is amazing, and that I am a role model. But I don’t feel like any kind of superhero. I’m not wearing a flashy outfit with a cape; I’m wearing a t-shirt with armpit stains and I smell bad. Showering is a hassle, because my hair clumps and clogs the drain, and the amount of dirt that comes off me would make you think I’m a real life version of Pig-Pen.
But I’m good, until I face the choice between taking a walk in the blazing sunlight, or camping out in front of my fan and playing solitaire on my computer all day. Reading on the veranda is always a winning option, if I can tolerate being interrupted by every other person passing by who wants my attention.
I’ve done a thirty-mile hike, I frequent the beach, I’ve attended a church service, and I’m finally remembering more community member names than I am forgetting them. I’ve made many Jamaican friends, my students occasionally stop by to say hello, and I keep myself busy by organizing dusty books in the library (when playing solitaire doesn’t sound more appealing). I’ve also managed to balance a social life with my responsibilities, which for many volunteers in other countries is considered a challenge. Then again, I’ve only been a PCV for three months, and it’s the summer time. Let’s see how things go when school starts up again in September.
My bitterness comes primarily from my lack of A/C and pizza. I also grow impatient while I wait for friends to reply to my emails or send out the care packages they’ve promised. Mom and Nana, meanwhile, are busy gallivanting through Italy on a five-star cruise. This friend is posting pictures of her dinner, that one is complaining that a specific television show isn’t on tonight, he’s boasting about that awesome concert he just went to, and – oh shit. Another friend is engaged.
It’s time to log off Facebook.