Thursday, August 11, 2011

Call it Middling

On August 11, 2010, I left the US for Guatemala. One year ago.

We usually talk about the Peace Corps as a two year commitment, but really it is 27 months. So now that I have reached the one year mark, I feel a little strange. Like I´m going into halftime in a sporting event, or intermission at a theater. I´ve been counting up how many months I have been here each step of the way, and now I´ve been here a year, but have more than a year to go. In November I´ll head to my Mid Service Conference and I suppose my mental clock will start ticking back downward… only 11 months to go… 8…. 3…. Etc….

I don´t want to seem like I´m counting the days in any sort of ¨get me out of here¨ mentality, but because this experience has such a defined timeline, it´s hard not to note the passage of time. I hit six months in country and thought, huh, that went fast. I hit six months in my site in SololĂ  and thought, shoot, I haven´t made it very far. Now I´ve been in country a year and all expectations or benchmarks have been smashed, so I don´t know what to think.

In some ways these next three months are like the turn of the tide. I feel I am in stasis… things are not coming closer nor pulling farther away. Unlike intermission and half time, things will not be standing still in my site… indeed I am busy dawn to dusk and hope to make a lot of progress on some tangible projects as well as relationships, language skills, and the rest of intangible things that add up to be development work. Still, mentally, I think I am now going to disengage from counting down or counting up the months, weeks, and days. Here I am. I might as well be here. I think I´ll call this the Middling Season.

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