Saturday, March 12, 2011

The Prep

The past few weeks have been spent accosting returned Peace Corps volunteers and the current Peace Corps volunteers in Indonesia with pressing questions.

  • Contacts - yes or no?
  • How many unmentionables should one pack?
  • What fun illnesses can I expect to contract?
  • Diva cup? Don't even ask.
  • And good news! I have confirmed Peace Corps does provide an unlimited supply of sunblock and bug repellent. Thank you, tax payers! And my alabaster skin thanks you.
In addition to this week's scientific investigation into the most effective deoderant, I decided to get a taste of American high school English classes. It's been awhile, and I thought this would provide a good point of reference for spending the next two years teaching Indonesian teens. Our family friend, Frannie, is also a widely renowned English teacher (in Dutchess County, at least), so I thought I could pick up a few pointers. Conclusion: Except for the wardrobe and the constant visits to the teacher's jumbo bottle of hand sanitizer, the 11th grade has not changed much at all.

Also, turns out the Catholic guilt I successfully suppressed for the past six years or so seems to have purchased PX90 and muscled its way back into my life. Some of Frannie's classes had been reading Krakauer's Into the Wild. This was a particularly curious lesson for me to observe as I prepare to leave my family and friends to venture into the unknown. The triumphant return of guilt was evidenced by my gut reaction to a quote on the 11th grade review sheet: "How is it that a kid with so much compassion could cause his parents so much pain?" Ugh. Way to pour lemon juice on an open wound. Spolier Alert: Granted, I don't plan on rejecting my family, burning up all of my money, subsisting on poisonous berries, and kicking it on a bus in the middle of the Alaskan wilderness for absolutely no reason at all. Still, the question and loose parallel is a bit unsettling.

So I would like to declare here on national blogcast, that I think loving and appreciating your family and friends at every moment is a good way to go, even if old McCandless got that message a little too late. I hope any emotional turmoil caused is calmed by the awesomeness this relatively short experience will bring to those I am lucky enough to be related to, live near, eat lunch with, receive texts or emails from, and dress up as Christmas characters for. Think of the joy that will be received from my struggle to be accepted despite my marathon-weathered toenails and uncontrollable laughter. Think of all of the new, odd places in which I can now lose my personal belongings. Think of the children! This thing is bigger than all of us, really, and I am so thankful for all of the support - past, present, and future!

Readiness Scale from 1 to 10:
Language skills: 1.14
Cultural knowledge: 2.46
Physical Preparedness: 7
Mental Readiness: 8

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