Thursday, June 20, 2013

Busily Bored

Summer: the time when everyone enjoys hot weather, one day of fireworks, and children peeing in pools.  Well for me it's been hot weather, the occasional beer, and a mixed period of being completely bored and feeling slightly overbooked. 

It started about a week ago.  I woke up at the crack of 10am to decide whether I should think about getting up or whether I should skip the internal 20 minute conversation and just get up.  I chose the latter because I was feeling ambitious. 

One productive decision leads to another...

I went to the Peace Corps office to kill some swings of the clock when my friend Ben walked in.  We convinced me that being a bum, although a respectable profession, was not the best way to spend my summer.  We headed to the Upward Bound office which runs a program for high school students during summer, and within 20 minutes I found myself signed up to teach a Junior Literature class four days a week. 

Two productive decisions lead to another...

After feeling slightly less hobo-ish, I walked to the library after hearing about a meeting after a planned meeting to the addendum of a meeting (basically, there was no meeting) to have a kids summer reading program.  I talked to the library director and basically begged him for some sort of free labor to do.  He signed me up for the reading program, and he also gave me some "come whenever you want to" book entry work.

Three productive decisions lead to another...

Two days later I was referenced to the Sports Office here in Pohnpei to see if there were any sports I could help out with.  I fell right smack dab into a meeting about a basketball tournament starting on July 15th.  Perfect.  By the time I headed out the door, I had a new title: Coach of Team 3 "The Underdogs".  We've had two practices, and my team is going to win the tournament.  This information is based on little to nothing, but whatever.

Four productive decisions lead to another...

On another referral (I think Peace Corps office gave me these referrals because they wanted me to stop drinking all of their coffee) I got a call from a IREI (Island Research and Education Initiative)  asking me to help in writing a book.  What the book is about or how much I'll be writing/helping I have no idea, but I like the idea of having my name on the list of supporting authors.  I start tomorrow.

Five productive decisions lead to... me locking my imaginary scheduling book for now.  It's a great start (or shall I say midway start since it's already mid-June) to my summer.  I've also been taking my little sisters and two other little relatives to the pool and the library, and I've also been letting them ABUSE my Gameboy and Ipod.  Mom, I know now why you locked up our N64; these kids won't stop playing video games!  It's been fun to hang out with the kids because I feel like I'm getting "dad practice".  Knowing when to say "yes" and "no" to my sisters' thousands of requests has been quite the learning experience over the past month.

To sum it all up, I'm busy and having fun, and that's all that matters.

Saturday, June 8, 2013

1 year - The Foreign Country Isn't So Foreign Anymore

The gravity of this post really hasn't hit me yet.  While I've been here in Pohnpei, my planet has been busy making a whole revolution around our sun.  We've both been very busy the earth and I.

This year, and especially these last 5 months, has been the most intense personal growth period of my life.  I've learned to be more at ease with my personality and to take on life with a sense of I can control my situation more.  That's one of the reasons why I wanted to be a volunteer, and I feel like I've been a rock tumbling down a river becoming more smooth and refined as I meander down.  I feel comfortable.  I feel great.  I feel like Nick.

During this past year, I've been through hell, heaven, and thousands of "meh..." days.  Bacteria have become my new best friends, cold showers are actually relaxing, and the Pohnpeian language has gone from being something unpronounceable to being a social tool I use to connect with people (especially the ladies ;)).  Also, some serious cognitive dissonances have become common mental thought processes for me.  Dogs, for one, can be hit and fed next to nothing, but I can still go play and pet them.  I can go eat a hamburger in town and then instantly go to cooking rice on an outside fire without thinking twice.  Certain foods like bacon and ice cream (a good combination I must say) are now scavenging opportunities instead of culinary choices like in the States.  Socially, I can talk with Americans for hours about personal issues and in the next hour I can go back to traditional Pohnpeian society and not discuss feelings for days.

I've changed.

But I've changed mostly for good, and that feeling is a huge accomplishment for me.

There are so many misunderstandings, dangerous excursions, and accomplishments that have been jam packed into 2012-2013.  I can't do them all justice, and that sucks.

The mental unspoken question that's going through my mind is "Would you choose Peace Corps again knowing what you know now?".  Yes, no doubt.

I've got another whole year to go.  Here's to the past, and here's to the adventure that lies ahead of me.