Tuesday, December 11, 2012

A little reflection

I know I have been slacking on blog posts lately (delicately re-emphasized by my mom as well).  I have been travelling around a lot , but honestly I can say this lack of writing is at least partly due to the fact that I just don’t really know what to write about anymore.  I forget what I have written already and now that things are normal for me here, it’s hard to think about what kinds of things will be interesting for any readers I have.  So I was inspired to maybe read through my old journal entries (I have been pretty regular, writing in a journal almost every day) and see if that conjured up some topics to entertain you with.

I went to today’s date to see what I was doing/feeling exactly one year ago, and interestingly enough, it was exactly the day that I left to first arrive in Murrupula.  I thought maybe I’d share a few passages from those first days at site to show the emotional rollercoaster that it was and then to compare with where I am now.

Optimism and excitement before the last night of our conference before heading to our sites.

Dec 11, 2011: The night before driving to Murrupula – Hard to describe the feeling I have now.  Realizing the awesome adventure that is about to begin. I’ve tried not having expectations, but it’s impossible to have none, so I hope it is the community feel or that it gets there with time.  It’s gonna be an exciting, challenging, difficult, maybe lonely, scary, but great adventure these next few months, two years.  It’s almost like now my mind is slowly changing from two years sounding like forever to sounding super super exciting and I can’t wait for the challenge.  Excited to see what is in store and to begin this time for adventure.  This is what I came here to do and what has been months in the making.  Let’s do it!

To be honest, I don’t really remember this last night in the hotel before we came to site.  But reflecting back now, I can definitely confirm that this adventure has been all of those things, and then some.  I still don’t really know if it is all what I expected, but I do feel part of a community now, I know where to go and who to go to, and now I’m excited for the next year to begin.
And then reality hit as I saw my house for the first time.
Dec 12, 2011: Arrival at site (remember I had a roommate at this time) – Arrived at our new home today!  Initial reaction was complete shock!  We walked into a house with dirty walls, doors made for midgets and barely big enough to fit through, tin roof, gate anyone could easily jump over, hole in the ground bathroom….what did we get ourselves into!  A few times we were both on the verge of crying just by the sheer overwhelming-ness of it.  A day filled with every emotion possible.  But I couldn’t imagine doing this alone.  It’s gonna be a long next couple of weeks, needless to say long two years!  And definitely going to be hard and a challenge, but that’s part of why I am here right, to challenge myself.  It’s just a crazy thing to describe, total overwhelming feeling.

Jan 13, 2012: Back at site alone – It’s just so hard.  Plain and simple.  Hard in every way.  And yeah maybe it will get easier and I have to take it day by day and I am staying strong, but it sucks!  I don’t want to eat because food is so limited and sucks to make.  I am tired of throwing things out because I can’t cook for one person and have no fridge still to save things.  Only one outlet works still.  I still have no bed frame and there was a lizard inside my mosquito net.  Yeah I’m gonna meet people and get into a routine and start working, but its just really hard!  I know it’s not really ever going to get easier per say, but gosh how much easier life is at home and how easy it would be to escape this and go!  I know I truly don’t want that and would be totally lost as to what to do with myself there, but right now ease, convenience, and comfort sound awesome!  I can continue to sit here and pout and cry, or I can complete something on my list to get through another day.  It’s easy to fall into a lazy, depressed mode of nothingness, but that’s not me.  So I still feel sucky, but I’m gonna get up and get through another day, even if it is just going through the motions zombie-like.  At least I am still making motions and that’s progress I guess.

I very clearly remember arriving at my house that first day and that complete overwhelming feeling.  I think that Jan 13th entry really sums up my mindset during those first months at site.  Don’t think everything was negative though, because I promise I had some positive moments in between there too, but it was hard and quite the emotional rollercoaster.  My mantra was, and still is, one day at a time.  Now though, I can honestly say, time goes by a little faster.  It still gets just as frustrating, but now I can usually laugh things off as just quirks of the country I live in and think to myself, yup I should have seen that coming.

I laugh to myself now re-reading that part about the description of my house because really it hasn’t changed much, if at all.  Though the walls are painted and I’ve hung up some maps, artwork, and pictures, I still have a hole-in-the-ground toilet, the doors are ridiculously tiny, and the house is nearly impossible to “clean”, let alone keep clean.  What’s changed is my mindset in regards to it all.  I still have moments like that Jan 13th entry where it’s frustrating and the convenience would be a very much welcomed relief, but I’ve settled in to this routine now where this is my home, my life here in Africa, and it’s doesn’t seem weird or unusual anymore.  I sit with a flashlight always by my side in anticipation of the electricity going out.  I get a strange sense of pleasure from filling up my water buckets by catching run-off water from the roof.  I feel relaxed after my bucket bath.  I get as creative as I can with rice, beans, tomatoes, onions, and garlic recipes.  I kill bugs with my bare hands.  Ha, Peace Corps Volunteers.  We really are a strange breed.

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