Leaving was different this time. In some was more real, and in some ways just through the reaction of the people who know where I’m going. In many ways, for me anyway, it’s just the next job, the next place to be, but I know they will require so much more than the places I’ve been.
Mexico requires you to show up and be able to speak English well, preferably with a passport, but there really are no rules there. Taiwan has rules, but they are desperate for good teachers, so much so that any teacher who can get the visa will do. The Peace Corps is different. They want me, and they need people with my skills, but there is no desperation. They would rather send no one than send someone who could damage their project and reputation.
The people with me aren’t really what I expected either. Most teachers have a simple goal, money, freedom, an escape. Many of the people who went to Mexico were looking for a party, or a place without the restrictions of their home. A lot of people in Taiwan were looking to build a life, or decided to once they spent some time there. Even the people passing through wee mostly college students working on their degrees. I’m not seeing those personalities here.
If I’m not the oldest of the group, I’m pretty close, and I have more experience in he world than many of them, but that works against me in many ways here. I lack the excitement of youth, the ability to anticipate rather than worry. The problem is, really, I was always cynical. I think that what I’m seeing is many of them are what I could have been, and what I still want to be. With luck, I’ll have the time to learn it over the next few months of training.
What I am now is something different than I have ever been. I’ve always avoided being the face or the voice of a group. Now I’m both. I will be seen as the face of a nation, the voice of America, and everything I do will be seen and questioned. I know it won’t be that way the whole time, but now my conduct is my job, not just an expression of who I am. That makes it much harder to be an asshole, no matter how funny I find it.
I feel hesitant, if that is really an emotion. Wary, maybe, but not really worried or scared. There is something of the fear of success, I’m sure, but I know I can do this. I know I will change because of it. I know that I am doing what I want, living the life I have been searching for. I know, but there is still hesitation, and I don’t know that what I will do for my community will be enough.
I’m looking forward to climbing the mountains, to meeting my first class, and to standing in front of a group and speaking a language I can barely order tea in right now. I look forward to the food, the people, king fu, and seeing what will become of me. The life I had, in many ways, is just an anchor to me now. Not the people or the places, but all the things I used to be, the aged, ancient voices that are so terrified of the life ahead.
Time passes so quickly, but looking at more than a few moments ahead has always caused me more misery than joy. Preparation is the enemy of excitement, for me. Life is chaos, and I try to embrace how wonderful that is. I don’t really know what the future holds, but I’m sure it is noting like he roads i had been walking on so far. The road ahead keeps splitting, and I keep aiming for the road less traveled, I just can’t wait to find where he sidewalk ends.