Re-re-adjusting to the alternative velocity of how fast things can happen in Peru:
Expression of the Week: Tdeetd-Tdeetd- Tdeetd.
-The sound of a moto honking.
Also the sound we make when we want Juan Diego to honk his tricycle horn.
Saludos from the swervy backseat of un carro 🚗 returning to (my former service site, high-jungle) Oxapampa from low-jungle La Merced.
Happy to confirm no stray care packages waiting at SerPost for me.
One upside of being an “RPCV” (Returned Peace Corps Volunteer) is tomorrow all the PCVs travel to respective capitals for a 9-hour quarterly regional meeting on Thursday.
Am I showing up to just mess with everyone?
Yeah… nope. 😈
I continue to feel more “normal” again— resuming a feeling of peace and ease here at “home” in Oxapampa and Peru.
That being said, I’m on diligent watch for signs of overstaying my welcome… straddling mixed-identities of ex-volunteer host-daughter to random extranjero loafer. I notice my trigger-feet ready to ghost before it’s too late.
Something to consider: Still warming up to the idea that “family” means you stick around even when they don’t particularly like you. And it will be okay.
So far, they still love I’ve returned.
It continues to be bittersweet and often strange to be in Peru not as a Peace Corps Volunteer. Drivers and strangers ask me if I’m on paseo. No? Si? Familiar faces ask me where I disappeared to the last 100 years (in Peruvian time). Socios have already lined up a long list of work projects. Hard to explain why I went away for a bug bite and why/how I am not staying. Even harder to wrap my brain around what’s next.
In the maniacal spirit of spamming the Internet for a job, I asked the PC Lima office if they needed help on staff. They said no vacancies and reminded me I have no “right to work” in Peru. Then I was reprimanded for not turning in my PC Passport and Peru Identity Card (while acknowledging no one actually asked me to.) Since my medically evacuated luggage is “stuck” (3 months) in their office… I’m using it as a leverage point.
(Note: I am traveling on my personal passport and tourist Visa, I am not that shady. Though I enjoyed thinking about it.)
Here’s a quick summary of the week and some pictures before I lose my empañada from the back seat:
1. My host-sister Jenny had her 44th birthday yesterday. We took takeout chicken and fries to a neighboring town’s hotel pool and I taught my family how to swim. (That’s how they conned me into a bathing suit, anyway.) Talk about an exercise in Spanish- gently teaching adults how to float and kick.
2. I was given a job with a US government agency in DC on Wednesday. (It’s amazing how well I can do on an interview when I am uncertain if I want the job.) They have not told me what the job is beyond Project Manager. Currently navigating how to get them fingerprints for a background investigation from Peru. So far, the only plus in the job column is someone wants me. Not sure that’s enough to move to DC.
3. The two months in Wyoming after my official separation from Peace Corps were very hard. One part, recovering from a medical event took some tenderness. Second part, feeling completely out of place (read: missing my spirit) back in the US. Additionally, Home just isn’t HOME anymore without Cabot (who is fully happy and integrated with Willy and Tina, down the road).
I gained 10 kilos between NIH doctor appointments and allowed myself to sink deeply into a soft depression.
4. My guardián of el mirador remarked I was “poca gordita” when I resumed my daily summit routine in Oxapampa. (Thanks Peruvian cultural norms of just saying it like it is.) Hey. Gotta start again somewhere. Poca a poca.
5. Do I regret the series of events that lead to leaving service? A little, but even feeling out-at-sea lost, it was the best decision. Even if the Universe had to lay it on a little thick with a bridge collapse, tropical disease, and massive flooding.
Everyday I get a fresh breeze of gratitude for no longer being spun up and spun out in the bureaucracy web of Peace Corps well intentioned staff. My host family and friends still love me, even if I am roly-poly-ing my way though the next few weeks. The real difficult asshole I have to contend with is me. All I can do is be half as patient, kind, and happy with her as I am just being present in Peru.
Vamos a ver.
Lucho plays mi guitarra for Juan Diego after birthday dinner: