For starters, Happy New Year! 2017, you snuck up on me.
December was an interesting month. I moved from Namaacha to Namacurra. I traveled all over northern Mozambique. I became a Peace Corps Volunteer. I completed the first of my 24 month commitment.
December was a month marked by change. At the time, it felt like a month marked by conflict, confrontation, and struggle. The culture shock is hard. Constantly being harassed is hard. Constantly being a spectacle is hard. Sitting in a chapa with 25 other people and 10 chickens for 10 hours is hard. Being away from my loved ones, especially during the holidays is hard. Always being sick is hard. Being inundated with small children is hard. Being alone is hard. Being surrounded by people who don’t speak your language or share your culture is hard. Not having privacy is hard. Speaking a new language is hard. Surviving in 100% humidity and 105° weather is hard. Always feeling guilty for what you are and have is hard. Always feeling guilty for always being upset is hard. Having nothing to do is hard. Having mice, spiders, roaches, lizards, crickets, millipedes, termites, etc., in your home at any given time is hard. Sometimes, leaving my house is hard. Moving into someone else’s home and trying to make it your home is hard. Feeling like you have no money, then being surrounded by people who literally have no money is hard. Letting in and trusting people you’ve only known since September is hard. Trying to keep up with people and things at home while also trying to be present here while also thinking about the future is hard. Balancing keeping your guard up with ‘integration’ is hard. Being yourself where nothing and no one is familiar is hard. The Peace Corps, in short, is hard.
Then, today, I realized something. This is really f*cking hard. But with that said and done, all of this – all of these struggles – is my life now. I can either choose to accept it, make light of it, and realize that this isn’t really about me or I can go home. I am here to serve a community. I am here for others. I am here to learn. I am here to fulfill purposes, both external and internal. I am here because I want to be here, and what I’m doing (when I remember to zoom out just a little bit) is actually truly awesome.
This past month has been a month of adjustment. Adjustment in its most literal sense creates friction an incites transformation. I have experienced December, a month full of adjustment and friction, as a month full of frustration and anxiety because I have made it all about me. I lost sight of the fact that tension is necessary for any one thing to release, to spring forward, to transform into it’s next phase. Tension in change and before release is universal and without really understanding what was happening, I was resisting it. Now I see that all I can do is control how I experience whatever it may be, whether friction or flow, tension or release, and show up every day as the best me that I am capable of being.