Life here is never normal. Or if it is, I have to redefine the word. Maybe normal means not being constantly presented with new situations and encounters. In that case, maybe things are becoming kind of normal. I am no longer surprised when school is canceled for a national soccer holiday. I am no longer surprised when drunk men want to talk to me for hours, repeating the same things over and over (although I am surprised when the subject isn't US politics). Maybe It could be called normal, but never routine.
Last weekend a trainee from the latest group of environmental volunteers came to visit me for 3 days. It was interesting to see reflections of myself a year ago. After sleeping for most of the first day he was sick in the night and the following day reluctant to walk around in the heat looking at the community. I understood, PC training is probably the most intense learning experience most people will ever go through and it is exhausting. He just needed a vacation.
In fact, life here is exhausting. So many factors contribute to a constant humm of stress that builds and builds. Foreign culture. Check. Language. Check.
- Chickens constantly plotting to invade my garden.
- Never being sure if a project will pan out due to weather, politics, and other numerous factors beyond my control.
- Being taken advantage of.
- Not being taken advantage of (people not understanding my function)
- Being the object of daily gossip.
- And the object of giggles from 16 year old high school girls (flattering, but sometimes scary)
- Being charged the "Nortè" price.
- Are those pesticides being sprayed 30 yards from my house getting into my well water?
- Is any of this really going to do any good, are they really interested in what I have to say?
It is two years of sink or swim that provides the conditions for the type of personal growth that can and will direct and define the life of anybody who gets through it sane.