At the swearing-in ceremony, some two months after landing in country, another volunteer performed a 'dramatic reading'. The piece focused on how the peace corps experience is, essentially, an accelerated maturation. When you first arrive with your host family, you are sort of like a baby- unable to communicate, unsure of how to use the toilet, and probably crying a good deal. Then you move up to child status, teenager, and so forth. The PC administration's hope, I believe, is that the volunteer reaches the level of young adult by the end of the first two months. The expectation being: you are able to survive on your own. At the time, I thought the reading was poignant and disturbingly accurate. But I also thought I'd made it to adulthood. I suppose most people sincerely believe they've matured into fully functioning adults at a number of times throughout their lives: 13 years old, 16 years old, 18 years old, 21 years old, and so on. And what I felt may be similar to that. But anyway, I thought I had made it to what I'd always considered the lengthy, flat plateau of being an adult.
Not so! At the age of 25, men's brains have finished filling out the frontal lobe (I think this happens at about 18 for women). This means, in theory at least, they are directed more by reasoning, rather than the fickle dictatorship of the emotional lizard brain. This is the hallmark of adulthood: no more radically fluctuating emotions.
But, over the last 8 months I've had more emotional ups and downs than perhaps at any other time in my post-12-year-old life. Simply put, the two months training before swearing in was not enough to even me out. One day is fantastic, and the next is miserable. One hour in the classroom is exhilarating, and the next hour of teaching is painful.
Yesterday we celebrated Thanksgiving in Oujda with 4 other volunteers and another American. Krista heroically made a 4.5 kilo chicken, a cheesecake, gravy, cornbread stuffing, and buns. I competed as well as I could with some green beans and pumpin/ginger soup. Somebody else made mashed potatoes, and we washed it down with cheap wine and Budweiser. We decorated a plastic tree and listened to Christmas music. We played Boggler, Settlers of Catan, and Cards Against Humanity. It was like heaven.
Today, we caught a grand taxi back just after the sun had set. Krista was sufferiong from severe back cramps when we got stopped by border patrol for the first time. At one point the driver stomped on the break at 90 kph, and went into a controlled skid-swerve around a donkey that was standing placidly in the middle of the road. We got the best seats in the house for that show as we were smushed into the passenger seat (also known as the 'death seat'). That was a bit of a downer.
The great news is, the highs are really high. The bad news is the lows are really low. And I'm still trying to decide whether or not the mercurial emotions of my Moroccan teenage self are a good thing.
The views, opinions, and observations expressed in this journal are my own and in no way reflect the views, opinions, or policy of the Peace Corps, Peace Corps Morocco, nor any other governmental or non-governmental organization.
Nor is anything written here necessarily drawn from my own views, opinions, and observations. Please consider all postings and pictures complete fabrications with absolutely no bearing on reality. For legal purposes, please additionally regard the author as utterly imaginary.
The views, opinions, and observations expressed in this journal are my own and in no way reflect the views, opinions, or policy of the Peace Corps, Peace Corps Morocco, governmental or non-governmental organizations.
Nor is anything written here necessarily my own views, opinions, or observations. Please consider all pictures and texts here to be complete fabrications with absolutely no bearing on reality, this one or any other. For legal purposes, please additionally consider the author to be utterly imaginary.