The day after I graduated high school, I walked into the local library and walked out with a stack of books and a job offer. That same day, I asked the boy who I went to prom with to be my boyfriend. I spent that summer roaming the bookshelves of the library and tangled up in the backseat of my sister’s dark blue 2001 Chevy Prizm, which would later be handed down to me and infamously re-named “Punchbag Bob.” My job at the library, a place I frequented often, felt like a dream come true. I had fond memories of making the long walk from my house, always stopping at the Polish bakery on the way back. On August 8, 2008, during a five hour conversation on my now-antiquated cellphone, I said “I love you” to a boy for the first time. I whispered the words into the dark and laughed at my nervousness when I heard them back. Although I’m sure life had its moments, I can’t remember being anything but blissfully happy that summer. I had my first taste of freedom in the form of a job, a car and reciprocated love. My five-year plan involved a career, a home and marriage. Regardless of these aspirations, the memory of scrolling through the Peace Corps website is so vivid in my memory that I can tell you the exact shade of my nail polish as the computer mouse hovered over the application link. The world had never felt so big and so small at the same time. My job lasted until the weather cooled and I started my first semester of college. The relationship with the boy lasted another year and a half. Punchbag Bob was my faithful companion for 4 years.

This week, I will be celebrating my 26th birthday. Going into my 2nd year of Peace Corps, “career” is a foreign word that I’ve only recently wrapped my head around; just like I can’t imagine waking up next to the same person for the rest of my life, the idea of choosing one job feels daunting. My concept of home is constantly in flux. Home is a little house nestled between tea plantations in Western Uganda. It’s my sister’s voice on the telephone. Home is a shared room with my best friend in Kampala. It’s a backpack in the corner of a hostel. Home is a twinkling pair of eyes hinting at things to come.

Somedays, I’m ready for the goals I had as an 18-year-old. I’m ready for “The Rest Of My Life.” On those days, I wake up craving the safety and comfort of a familiar pair of arms so I pull my blanket tight. I work on my resume and throw around fancy acronyms. GRE, PRAXIS, TFA, TEFL. I think about living in one place and the thought of being tethered doesn’t sound so scary.

I don’t have a five-year plan anymore and although I have some ideas floating through my head, I can’t even tell you where I’m going to be one year from now. My life could go in a million different directions and right now, I am reveling in the fact that each decision, each path, is wholly mine. I am exactly where I want to be and I think my 18-year old self would be proud of that.

Advertisements

Update & A List

January 12, 2016

I am currently sitting in the staff-room-turned-library at my school trying to cool down after working up a sweat organizing a million* American textbooks.

I could go on a rant about the fact that no one has touched these books since they were donated 5 years ago and that I really don’t understand why someone would donate 5 copies of “Writing & Grammar for Twelfth Grade,” of all things, to a small rural primary school in Uganda where the kids barely know how to speak English.

But I digress. My head teacher insists that we keep them so I begrudgingly wiped the mysterious excrements off the covers, put them on the shelf and will watch them collect dust (but hopefully no poop) once again like the good Peace Corps Volunteer that I am.

JKJKJK. Excuse my sarcasm.** I do love Peace Corps.

Anyway, it has already been such a busy year and because I know that you really want to know what I’ve been up to these last 12 day, here’s a list! It may be a new year but my fondness for lists with unnecessarily long titles remains intact.

Ahem.

Things I Have Been Preoccupied With for the Last 12 Days (aka the First 12 Days of 2016)

  1. Getting readjusted to bucket baths, pit latrines and cooking for myself. The thought of taking a bucket bath after a month of hot showers was not a happy one but getting back to the routine was really nice, like coming home.
  2. Playing with my cat….or as Ugandans like to say…Playing with my “pussy.”
  3. Curing baby fever. My trip to Bangladesh left me with a serious aversion to marriage but, in a confusing twist, an intense case of “baby fever.” I am proud to say that I no longer have the intense and extremely untimely desire to have babies, thanks to the fact that I have a 3 month old kitten who refuses to go to sleep unless I sit down with her on my lap. I imagine having a baby would be 100X more inconvenient than that.
  4. Supervising a construction project. If you follow my GoFundMe campaign (www.gofundme.com/latrinesforkps), you know that we have started construction on the new latrines! If you follow this blog, you know that I hate dealing with money and the fact that I’m supervising a 27,000,000 USh construction project is basically my worst nightmare. Okay, it’s not that bad. But it is stressful. But yay! Latrines! And yay for keeping the school open!!
  5. Developing a library. Which brings me back to not-complaining about all the textbooks in the school library.

I have three consecutive workshops/conferences starting next week so the year is just going to get busier! I can’t complain though – however stressful it may be, I love it.

 

*exaggeration

**Maybe the new tag line for this blog? Definitely the tag line for this post.