I’ve changed. That was a given outcome I was expecting when I decided to join the Peace Corps. Some changes I think are for the best and some not so much. What brought on this discourse of thought on change? Watching a cooking podcast (which I download to get new ideas for meals and merely because I enjoy watching them). As I was watching this particular episode for vegan pancakes, the cook needed water for the recipe, so she proceeded to turn to her kitchen sink, open the faucet, get water and then put it in the batter. I watched that and thought: that is so weird; she just took water from the sink. It wasn’t until a few days later did I realize how strange it was that I thought it is strange to get cookeable, drinkable water straight from the tap. (Bit of background on my process for having drinkable water: daily gather water (between 7.45am to 8.30am – roughly) from the yard faucet, boil it, pour it in my water filter, and wait for it to be filtered (this is the longest part of the process, usually requiring several hours.)
Pondering all the ways I realize I have changed (probably have changed in ways I don’t even consider as change anymore), I wander when I go back to America if all these changes will reverse or are they permanently part of me now? Will I ever stop thinking running water is precious? When I turn a knob and instantly have hot water will I even remember having to water several hours for water to heat up, and never having hot water in the house, only the in the yard shower? Will I continue the habit of never leaving anything pluged into an outlet when it is not in use? Will I get used to not having to bring my own toilet paper everywhere? Will I continue to use my hand (for number 1 and 2) when I run out of or forget toilet paper, without giving it a second thought? Will I break the habit of automatically throwing used toilet paper into a trash can? What will replace my knowledge of exact time of day when I no longer hear the call to prayer 3 times a day? Will I continue to walk down streets with my head down, eyes to the ground, avoiding eye contact, and frankly any interactions, with men? Will I see a group of guys, young or old, in the street and instantly change my course and find an alternate route to avoid them or will I not even think twice about them? Will I walk into a room full of men for a business meeting and think it is strange that my presence is acknowledged (since here my presence is rarely acknowledged)? Will I stop becoming overwhelmed when I am in large group gatherings? What will happen when my secret language of English is understood by everyone around me or when I can fluently understand everything around me?
To be honest the thought of staying scares a me a bit to think how much more I will change and the thought of going scares me a bit because here has become the normal for me.