That statement couldn’t be anymore truer for me. Part of the reason I joined the Peace Corps was because I was too comfortable. We take so much for granted without even knowing it. We have the world at our fingertips, yet ignore the people in the same room as us. In order to truly reconnect with ourselves and others, we have to disconnect. It allows you to be present in your current situation. There’s no hiding insecurities behind a phone. You’re forced to start a conversation and learn something new, or sit in silence.
If I wasn’t comfortable being uncomfortable I wouldn’t be sitting on little stools, low enough so you don’t breathe in all the smoke from the fire, around a Malagasy table (a mat on the ground) eating more rice than ever before with my new Malagasy host family. I wouldn’t be roasting and grinding coffee beans by hand. I wouldn’t be making some of the best peanut butter I’ve ever had. I wouldn’t be staring at a million stars under the moonlight. I wouldn’t be sharing laughs, dropping my keys down the kabone, taking bucket showers with the most beautiful view, agreeing to things in Malagasy to which I partially understand.
If I wasn’t comfortable being uncomfortable I wouldn’t be able to watch kids make the most innovative toys (4 wheels and an old metal box to make a car) or them go to mud sledding after a rainy afternoon. I wouldn’t have a language class with chickens walking across my notebook and pigs squealing in the yard. I wouldn’t be playing cards during a power outage with flashlights by the fire. I wouldn’t have bananas and coffee plants in my backyard and pibossy and passion fruit in my frontyard. I wouldn’t be washing my clothes in the river and then balancing the bucket on my head on the walk home.
Yes, it’s hard being away from friends and family at home, but their love and support is the reason I’m here. I know they will be there for me when I get home eager to hear about everything, just as eager as I will about them. There’s something amazing being able to hear your fellow Americans coming up the muddy road and meeting them to walk to class. We join up, ready to start the next day, seeing where this amazing country will take us.