Five years ago this week I was saying goodbye to my friends and family in Minnesota. I saw one last movie with my oldest little brother (Little Miss Sunshine, which bears an uncanny resemblance to parts of my life). I flew to Boston to say good bye to some college friends and spend one last Saturday tailgating in the mods. I flew to Philadelphia and met 40 other wandering souls much like myself. And then we all got on an airplane and found ourselves in Tanzania as the fresh new batch of Peace Corps Volunteers. And I met the young man I’ll be marrying in less than a month.
Five years ago we were 41 volunteers. Quickly to become 40, as one decided to return to America 24 hours after our arrival. We were 22 men and 18 women. We ranged in ages from just 21 to into our 60s. Many of us were fresh from college, a few held masters degrees, one a doctorate. A couple of us had been to Africa before, but some had never left America. We came to teach math, chemistry, biology, physics and computers. Some of us left before the 27 months was complete. Some stayed an extra year. A few have made Tanzania their homes.
Five years ago we remember things a little differently. He remembers meeting me in Philadelphia. We were doing an icebreaker where we each had a paper that listed a few characteristics about each of the 41 volunteers and we had to figure out who matched which characteristics. I guess I was sitting alone in the middle of the room when he came up to me and commented that my characteristics (likes to garden and knows how to crochet) could have also have been his. I remember meeting him in Tanzania. We were in line to receive yet another vaccination. He hadn’t slept in well over 24 hours and was cracking jokes about being a vaccination addict and looking for his next score. He made me laugh. I was smitten already.
Five years ago we were put in the same small group for language training. Five years ago we were given host families next door to each other. Five years ago we walked each other to and from training every day. Five years ago we were placed as teachers in schools within hiking distance of each other.
We didn’t start dating for another 2 years (because things are complicated when you’re in the peace corps). But five years ago I knew he was the one.
Five years ago I started falling in love with both a country and a man.Comments: 5 Comments
Tags: fiance : love : Peace Corps : ruminations : wedding