Friday, April 27, 2012

The passage of time


Between sitting under a tree the other week for 5 hours waiting for a ride in Letlhakeng (a time which Rose and I used to come up with a complete social order to all the animals in the village) and spending a quiet Easter at home drinking wine out of a peanut butter jar (this classy moment brought to you by Peace Corps!), I have had a lot of time to think about…well time.  More specifically how quickly it passes.

Over the Easter holiday I also had some free time to update the d├ęcor in my house.  This was mostly done through a few calendars and pictures sent by Tori and Erika.  There were a few pictures that really sparked this line of thought about time.  The first was a picture from a wine tasting trip in Zamora about 2 and a half years ago where Casey and I were drunk enough to sing Spice Girls on the bus.  This picture is not of that moment but from early in the day.  Conveniently located next to my map of Salamanca it made me realize that it had indeed been years since I had been there.  It still seems so recent, yet also much longer than that at the same time.  Just like this Peace Corps experience.  I have been gone a long time, but some days it feels like no time, and others I wonder how I still have so much left.

From that picture I moved on to a few that brought back fond memories: rock climbing in IL with Brandon, Halloween parties at Aunt Jackie’s, raising money for Peruvian orphans in Queen’s Pub,  or my first ever trip to Cedar Pointe for Ashley’s 21st birthday.  These got me thinking about the fact that even though I do keep in touch with many people even though I am a continent and an ocean away, there are at least some people in my life that I consider friends that I won’t see again.  First of all, this is not on purpose.  Secondly, I do not think that most of the people reading this will fall into that category.  This is just another mystery about the way time works.  Even at Aquinas there were people I liked perfectly fine that I would go a year without seeing.  And that was a small school.  Without being confined to a small campus it just stands to reason that there will be people I lose touch with.  At first I was depressed about this, but I realized that nothing I can do will reverse this fact; it is just the way of life.  Even if I spent all my energy just trying to maintain contacts, I know I would accidentally forget someone.  So I have already made peace with that, and as I said, I don’t expect to lose contact with most reading this.  Again, the quick passage of time at work.

And there was one category of pictures that brought about my last wave of thoughts on time.  This was some that I got from Tori and Erika that showed things I did not remember.  Nor could I remember because I was not there.  These things all happened since I have left.  I have been over in Africa for 7 months, so naturally a lot has happened (even if EVERY TIME I ask for news from stateside everyone assures me nothing is going on).  But it is strange to see pictures of things and think that you will never really know what is going on.  Sure, I am smart enough to figure out what are pictures from a Halloween party, or people picking pumpkins in a field.  But I will never completely understand how it felt to be there.  And that made me realize it is going to be the same the other way around.  I can post pictures and blog posts all I want, but no matter what the people reading this will know what happened, but they won’t have the experience.  And in just 19 short months from now everyone I see again will have years of experiences I did not have, and vice versa.  This is not a bad thing, and won’t stop me from blogging and putting up pictures and such, but just another of the many intricacies concerning the rapid passage of time.  There is nothing you can do against it, despite how hard you might try, but it is something interesting to reflect on (if you find yourself drinking wine alone during the holidays you should give it a try).

One thing I have learned in Peace Corps is how to spend a lot of time alone with your own thoughts.  I do that a lot.  It is just part of life being the only person who natively speaks your language in the surrounding area.  And that is what this post has been.  An attempt at making some coherence out a mind’s ramblings about the passage of time. 

Now to give a very quick update on general stuff.  I am doing well.  Term 1 is over, and Term 2 starts next week.  My counterpart and I are planning to start 2 girls’ soccer teams, one for at school youth and one for out of school.  We are also looking at reviving more clubs at the school since the PACT Club revival has been effective so far.  Finally starting to get close to chilly in the mornings.  Not to that point yet, but getting there.  And working on a putting together a video from our Commonwealth Day celebration (showing traditional dancing and such done by the school kids) as well as figuring out what pictures to upload next.  That will all be coming down the line in anywhere between a few weeks and a month or two.  It all depends. 

And with that peace out.  Happy belated birthday Heather, and happy early birthday to anyone who has a birthday before I post again.  

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