Today during training we we're asked, "What is one expectation you have about your Peace Corps Tonga experience?".
At first my thoughts were broad-new friends, personal growth, learning a new language, cultural integration, teaching skills-both learned and taught.
But ..we all want those things, we all signed up for that. And yes, this experience will most likely change us, change me, much more than it will change Tonga, or the world, but...why are my expectations/goals so self-centered? What would it look like to impact Tonga? Impact who? How? Why?-what needs improving? I don't know the answer to any of those questions...now and maybe not ever. I expect to make a difference, but I honestly couldn't say what the difference will be right now.
To be perfectly honest, this is hard. Harder than I prepared for it to be, harder than I expected. An hour ago I was to the point of tears because (really, this is the extent of it) Tongan language is hard, and I don't know how to help with dinner preparations. Thirty minutes ago I was on cloud nine because I had two fantastic zingers right in a row that had everybody rolling on the floor (you had to be there). I love it sometimes, and I really don't other times. And the not loving it is the hardest...I've been planning for this exact thing for easily two years, but more like my entire life. This is what I wanted, this is what I eagerly anticipated all those days....shouldn't I always love it?
I am the harshest with myself-feeling guilty for being anything short of ecstatic. Well, I'm going to have to give that up if I'm going to survive. My first day here, I spent the night hugging the toilet-I don't love that. I have approximately 393057682 mosquito bites-I don't love that either. This is the experience of a lifetime, and I am all in...but I've gotta be honest with myself and you -some days are good, some days are bad. I am learning to live in the moment, to just be what I am, to relax, to be present, to take it one day at a time. I have a feeling this lesson will often be revisited....
Expecting and relaxing,