18 November 2011

Funnyquote Friday

During MST, when discussing the realities of living alone in a foreign country as expatriate volunteers, one of the subjects that comes up is relationships, perhaps intimate ones, with the people you find yourself amongst, whether host country nationals or otherwise.  And one of the strategies used by Peace Corps to give volunteers the tools to avoid any "rash" decisions is one that I was quite familiar with: listing the qualities of a potential partner before meeting someone.  This opened the door for one of my colleagues who has a penchant for undercutting the seriousness of a situation by, sometimes crudely, drawing attention to the absurdness of it all; as she pointed out,

"Don't date the local homeless guy
[just to date someone.]"

And so MST came to a close Thursday afternoon, and those of us staying behind on St. Kitts saw the Antiguan and Vincentian contingents off to the airport early this morning.  The training went over well, and I felt that we avoided, in large part, any time spent on superfluous topics or inapplicable teachings, though I fear that not everyone came away with the same assurance.  For my part, I was especially excited to hear about other volunteers' "One Thing That Worked," a five-minute summary of a project or activity that was met with positive feedback.  One example was a "juicebox wallet," a very chic/pop looking accessory that could be fashioned out of nothing more than a used juice box, some electrical tape, and a staple.  Not a stapler, a staple.  Moreover, the young woman who presented this fantastic and creative idea continued to apologize about it not being originally her idea, but that she had borrowed it from another Peace Corps Volunteer from Facebook.  All the while, I'm thinking, "Why are you apologizing? We all need to be pulling more from such an apparently deep pool of collective ideas."

In the end, the things I will remember most from my MidService Training will be the relationships with my fellow volunteers from Antigua and SVG: catching up with old friends, re-befriending new ones, and the surprising new developments in the lives of both.  I can't express how much I was looking forward to getting back together with everyone, a large group that I at once respect deeply, and again shake my head at, confounded.  Such a diverse group of people includes ones I am attracted to, ones I am repelled from, ones I look up to, ones who look up to me (though admittedly I may never know who those are, and am mostly projecting on that one), ones I trust, ones I don't trust, ones I'll always remember, and ones who won't remember my name, come Close Of Service conference in late July.

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