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name: Alicia
age: 24
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Wednesday, November 14, 2007

[I'm in a glass case of emotion!]

Ever since I found out precisely where and when I would be going as a Peace Corps volunteer, I've been tripping over a different feeling every few hours. The dust has slowly started to settle on the reality of my new life path, of course, and I've found two major thought processes have trumped the rest: Holy Shit I'm Going To Africa and Holy Shit I'm Going To Africa. Doesn't make sense? Just indulge me for a minute here:

A.) Holy Shit I'm Going To Africa (inflection on Africa, high-pitched squeak at the end, wide-eyed deer face). This is the sneakier of the two feelings, and it's always lurking about in the shadows. When I first read my invitation, I was elated, excited, ecstatic and all other happy e-words. I couldn't stop smiling for days. But then the terrible, crushing fear snuck in the back door and unleashed a barrage of questions. What if I'm not strong enough? What about all the frustrating moments, will I be able to cope? What if I make some hilariously absurd cultural blunder? What it's lonlier than I thought? Am I prepared?

I realize hesitant feelings are healthy, and I know, like my family and friends keep reminding me, that fear and questions are a sign that I'm taking the situation seriously. But still, there is a feeling of dread that sinks on my shoulders now and then, when I feel like I might have overestimated myself. The fear ranges from the totally silly (What if I'm not funny when I get back?! Most of my humor is topical!) to the preposterous (What if I lose touch with my friends, and they forget about me?) to the dead serious (What if someone in my family is hurt, or passes, and I miss it?), but they all get equal face time.

Like I said, I know that addressing these concerns is natural, and probably even a really good thing. But that doesn't mean it isn't scary, that it doesn't put me in a (seemingly) lonely, introspective place.

But, then, along comes...

B.) Holy Shit I'm Going to Africa (inflection on holy swear-word, all roared through happy smiles). And it's true! I am! I am going to be living a dream that I have had for years, I am going to be in another culture, I'm going to be challenged to become better, stronger, all the things I've wanted for so long. So what if things change? They will change for the better. So what if I get frustrated? No growth comes without a struggle.

I've gotten a chance to briefly get in touch with several people who will be in my training class, and this just reinforces all my sugary good feelings. It seems so far that while we all come from different backgrounds and life situations, we will get along swimmingly. See what B does to me? It makes me want to use words like swimmingly! In all seriousness (and in all take-myself-too-seriously-esness too, apparently), I'm thrilled and I am looking forward to going so much sometimes it feels like I might burst out of my skin. Aside from the personal growth, here is a short list, in no particular order, of some other things I'm looking forward to:

1.) The climate
2.) The mountain bike
3.) The wildlife
4.) The mud hut
5.) The new friends
6.) Starting work on my project
7.) The food

I go back and forth between the feelings, obviously, but for the most part I can't stop smiling. It's so clearly what I'm meant to do. It can be bewildering when something so good gives you the same physical feeling of a kick in the gut, of a total heartbreak. It's because it's completely new, completely out of my comfort zone and completely the right choice.

On a totally unrelated note, please watch this.

[1:41 pm: smells like someone's eating Belizean food. Over and out]

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