I am not sure how quickly time has escaped me, but life is happening whether or not I am ready: on December 28th, I will get on a plane and head off to Mexico. In Mexico, I’ll be celebrating New Years in Mérida with dear friends before heading off to staging in San Francisco on January 4th.
Staging in the Peace Corps is a time to organize ourselves (re: myself and the 60 other volunteers) and fill out a bunch of paperwork– or so I’m told. I’ll write more about it once it happens, but I imagine it’ll also include a lot of energy and excitement and people looking at each other and saying “We are actually doing this, ohmygodohmygod”. We will hug and cry and emotionally lean on eachother, even though we are strangers in every sense of the word. And I probably won’t be able to sleep– the high energy of it all will wreck me, no doubt. And it’ll be difficult to concentrate while I think of all of my loved ones who I’ve just left back in Colorado. I’ll be sleepy. I’ll be anxious. I’ll be exhilarated. I’ll be feeling all of the things I’ve been feeling for the last month, raised to the power of ten.
And despite all of the feelings, I will do it. I will get on that plane to Thailand. And I will lean on my fellow volunteers because we are all in the same confusing boat together, crashing in the waves of change. And sooner than I even know, all of this turmoil will become the New Normal for me. I will acclimate to it all– after all difference is neither bad nor good, just different. I will continue to feel all of the things and be validated by those who love me– yes, it’s normal to cry. Yes, it’s normal to smile and laugh and enjoy these new experiences. Yes, it’s normal to feel emotions that seem to cancel one another out– this is what it is to be human, after all, right? To be irrational.
After all, what rational creature uproots its life to move to the opposite side of the world in a naive attempt to love people? Yet the more I muse on it, the more I am certain of what I am doing: for me, the Peace Corps has only ever been about human connection. I am not so naive as to think that I will be changing/saving the world with my service; I am, however, naive enough to believe that I can love people while doing it.