7/17/2014. July Seventeenth. Jooo-lie seh-ven-teen-eth. No matter how i say it, it fails to give the impression that it’s palpable.
It was a lottery that determines the exact date we will leave the country and conclude our Peace Corps Service. Bizarre. For what has become too long to think outside of, I have been contemplating life in America and its’ quirky partnered readjustment phases. And now, I find myself vehemently rejecting it. It was always so far afield, that I laughed about the possibilities and shrugged off the terrors. Now its imminent. Every single day has been different from the previous; each one possessing its moments of thrill, frustration and empowerment. Every disposition and decision was wrought with provisonal goals and the temporary mindset. I never thought that returning to America/the „first world” could be more overwhelming than leaving it.
Amid the upcoming months and seasons, I’ll have to measure the disparities and douse in the things I might be leaving behind. As with all International humanitarians, I have been indoctrinated with zeal and humor as a core when faced with insidious verdicts. I’ve wrangled with everything under the sun: bacterial infections, Moldovan bed bugs; migraines; multiple bouts of food posioning? Check. Check. Check. Multiple Checks. My new idea of healthy is uninterrupted days without illness. I can’t even conjure up public transportation anymore without the manifest involuntary foreplay from the passenger to the right. Is 300% of the maximum fare, short safety policies, not routine? The biggest delights come in the forms of care packages housing an industrial size package of American delicacies (Twizzlers and peanut butter) and those rarefied occasions that are exclusive of any government document or the words “village” or “stipend”. I swear they stick to my every move like Velcro.
Quite sure this will manufacture awe, but I’ve become a teacher. In Moldova. My pastime has matured into stirring up brilliance from middle schoolers. Teachers pets’ and the deer in headlights look flashed by students caught misbehaving have somehow become my vices.
I’ve fully settled into the simplistic life, and that of a nomad. The exemplary customs have programmed my internal almanac and revolve around global excursions. The gentle rolling hills plush with vineyards have been reassuring my strife. In this standard of living, schedules are fixed around the suns’ level of strength; punctuality is an unprecedented attribute.
I’m now dogmatic in new ways, passive in old ways. In the village, Domnul Brett is the popular invitee to all events. Contrary to my unambiguous demeanor, this is in reality the one I’m not worried about. I’m actually quite excited to be a small fish in a big pond again. What does swirl in my mind is the feeling of obligation to defend certain cultures and underscore judgments. I already feel the need to deconstruct why disdain is the chief societal reaction. What battles will I wage war against and what will be flouted? Either way, a sense of direction and meaning imbued by this time will anchor my days.
We’ve all gone through the process of moving on to a new adventure, by means of deracination. Your mind tries to overcome reality and combine a summary of the past with a prologue into the forthcoming. Maybe I’ll resort to digging an outdoor hole toilet next winter. I might inaugurate a shoe-less guiding principle inside my American residence; I’ll sit on the laps of strangers in trains and buses. Or maybe I’ll just be that strange guy, to whom the skyscrapers are stepping stones and the classrooms are comfortable closets. After all, you can take the man out of the village, but how much of the village can we purloin out of the man.
Clueless might I be about the next city I reside in or the next project I undertake, I’m more engrossed by what affect the instrinsic worth of Peace Corps and Moldova will have on my future. What will be potted and what will seep away? I cringe at the thought of slipping back into a technology-rich culture where an operating system is a conventional way to navigate lifestyles. Yet, I can’t wait to meander the isles of a supermarket and to allow my hygeine to be dictacted only by my own choices.
My future actions and reactions have been shaped by these unscripted, unimaginable years in Moldova. The fact that these lessons stretched into a couple of years doesn’t matter. July 17 will only bring a material end. Because of what has been a formative experience for me, my path is being scripted. Then again, it is being written in pencil.