Somewhere along the path of self-discovery,
you start to believe in things like fate.
every person you meet,
every fellow hostel-mate,
is a sentence,
in the story of your life.
they teach you something
People are always coming and going and even though it’s hard to make lasting relationships in a place where everyone is a wanderer, the meaningful connections I’ve made in the throes of this crazy Peace Corps life are immeasurable. I wouldn’t trade those experiences for anything. (Not even for a bar of Hershey’s Almonds, or a big fat burrito from Chipotle…which is saying a lot because if you caught me at the right time of the month, I would trade my first born baby for both of those things).
The other day, I was engaged in a conversation about dating and I told someone that I’m more “aggressive” with boys in Uganda than I was in the states. This came out wrong (as does most things when I’m talking about boys to boys) but it really made me think about how my mentality towards dating has changed.
I have never had trouble making the first move and in the states, dating was something I did when I was bored. When I got tired of the whole school-work routine, I would find a guy to keep me occupied. Sometimes, it really was as easy as that. As a result, most of my (short-lived) relationships were born out of convenience. While I was signing my life away to the Peace Corps and as I critically examined each of the 14 boys in my cohort (all of whom, by the second day, felt like brothers to me), I thought I was also signing away any chance of romance.
Living in a country where you don’t speak the local language fluently and are constantly labeled as an “outsider” can show you how rare it can be to find someone who understands you completely. Because of this, when you do happen upon another being who can keep up with your banter, it’s hard to just let them walk away. Living in a foreign country also makes you realize how short life can be so when you are bantering away with someone and you don’t know how long they’ll be in the same space as you……you tend to give in to spontaneity. It makes me wish I upheld all my past relationships with the same vigor.
I’ve been a Peace Corps Volunteer for 17 months now. That’s 17 months of butchering the local language, laughing awkwardly and mastering the art of becoming your own best friend. 17 months of failures and successes, of extreme highs and extreme lows. During those 17 months, my life has changed drastically. I can honestly say that right now, I am the happiest I have ever been. I get to teach. I get to travel. I get to use my creativity to try and make an impact on the world. I am living a life that I’ve dreamt of for so long.