Think local. Act global. Learn more about the Peace Corps


5/23/10 Twenty-Seven Months

[[Yes, there will be lots of posts about COSing. Most are written, and just need to be typed up. But I'm only getting 2 hours of sleep tonight as it is, so I'm not typing them now. Just some thoughts from today...]

I've been out of touch for 27 months.

Not out of communication. Thanks to the miracle of teh intarwebs - with its gifts of Skype and email and Facebook and oh, yeah, my blog! - I've stayed connected to my loved ones.

But I'm out of touch with developments in America.

I hear about the big stuff. I watched Election Night and the Inauguration. I've heard about the tea bagger movement and the various economic crises.

But I've missed the other stuff. Like what movies have come out, and who's the latest "It Girl", and other things that honestly, I didn't mind missing.

I've also missed the recent waves of technology.

How much can change in 27 months?

A lot, it turns out.

iPhones. Dude, people can check their email and surf the web with their PHONES now. What's up with that!? Sitting in a cafe in Holland Park, London, I can confirm my flight and figure out how to get to Gatwick at 5am. Plus, with their built-in GPS and Google Maps and Enhanced Reality, people may never be lost again.

Computer chips embedded in ATM cards. This one's a bugger. I've been spending the remnants of my Peace Corps stipend, transfered into local currencies...but in order to get more funds, I need to use the ATM card attached to my American bank account. Problem is, my cute little twenty-seven-month-old card doesn't have one of these chips...which means that 90% of ATM machines reject it. Whoops.

Kindles. Which are just SO COOL. ::drooling::

How much can change in 27 months...

And in non-technology changes:

* The host cousin who was a silly 15-year-old when I arrived in Berberville is now married. MARRIED. (She's 17, he's 18. She met him the day before the wedding.)
* The host cousin who was a thoughtful 18-year-old is now married AND HAS A BABY BOY. (She's 20, he's 30. She met him TWO days before the wedding.)
* My host mom had a baby.
* My sitemate's host mom had a baby.
* My host aunt had a baby.
* My American nephews grew up from being a munchkin and an anklebiter to being a kid and a munchkin (respectively).
* I learned enough Tam to carry on complex conversations with nearly anyone. Well, any one of the 50,000 or so people who speak it. =/
* My American friends and cousins got married, had kids, graduated from their doctoral programs, and changed careers...without me being there.

Twenty-seven months.

In which I learned to walk down the middle of the street, how to eat *anything* with my hands, how to handwash anything, and other lessons that won't be terribly useful in the First World. (That first one has nearly killed me a few times already. Dude, you can't take me *anywhere*.)

Some cravings that have already been met:
* Mexican food
* Leafy green vegetables (including broccoli!)
* Seeing a movie on a screen larger than my laptop
* Lots and lots of cheese
* Root beer (including a root beer float!)
* Wearing a tanktop in public (and I have the sunburn to prove it - skin that hasn't seen sunlight in two years is *sensitive*, it turns out)

The "reverse culture shock" has begun. And will hopefully be of very short duration. :) 'Cause if I've learned nothing else from Peace Corps, it's how to deal with the unexpected with grace.

1 comment:

  1. When I left Peace Corps Morocco, I remember craving ham and pineapple pizza more than anything...A Starbucks frappuccino after that. Good luck with the transition home! I've enjoyed reading your blog.


Think local. Act global. Learn more about the Peace Corps