Weekends here can be epic and amazing. I think I enjoy it more when I don’t really know what is going on or where we are going. I get my stuff and I follow everyone, and I have yet to be disappointed. We went to DanYang and MianJu last weekend, visiting friends and family. They were all people who had known each other for decades, and while their lives have followed different paths, they are still friends.
It was like being back in Mexico for a weekend. Food, liquor, laughter, and fighting. One of the people there, not a brother but born on the same day as my host brother. He was a police office, and he worked in a prison here for a while before moving up to a more political position. I don’t really know what he does since no one knew the exact translation of his job title, but it has to do with city wide security. He also happens to be a professional fighter, second ranked in Sichuan from what I’m told. From what I saw, what we practiced, he is fast with an extremely close and violent style. If I get to stay in the area, he offered to train with me sometimes. By halfway through the night, I became his brother.
It’s strange to have that feeling again, that comfort. That is so much of why I love Mexico, the people and the family, the heart of Mexico is that love. I really didn’t think I would find it here. I think that is the first truly surprising thing I’ve found here, that moment when I felt at home.
We went into the mountains and ate, went to a valley and played majong, then went to eat again. It is not the kind of thing you can do very often, but for that time it was glorious. I miss all the strenuous hiking and the things I have done, but I know I can build a life here. I just don’t know where that will happen yet.
We had our site interviews today, so we finally got to officially talk to the people who will decide our fates. I think it’s still a toss up for me. They could send me anywhere at this point, and as long as I can find someone to practice kung fu with, I know I can make everything else work. I could tell that all of them have different agendas, which makes sense since they are all competing for the same volunteers across the four provinces. The lines between them show, but only just. I wish we had more time for the interview, but I know they have to meet all of us and then go back and see who fits what they need the best.
This week was fairly relaxed compared to all that practicum was. Instead of writing lesson plans, I’m working on my Chinese for hours each night mixed in with family time. There never seems to be enough time, but I think it will always be that way for me. There is so much that I want to do and see, and I’m almost sorry that we only get one site for the two years. I wonder how this will be different from what I’ve done before.
I know there is a difference with the place and the people, the Peace Corps has done their best to create an environment where we can be drawn into the culture here. The door is open, we just have to be something that the people here welcome in. I know my personality has changed since I’ve been here, I step back less, and laugh a lot more. A lot of the anxiety that was always beside me seems to have left. I know it’s still there, and I have felt it’s fingers crawl across my skin more than once here, but it’s not pervasive like it once was.
Fear is a friend, and maybe that is taking the edge from the anxiety. That first glimpse of anticipation, of waiting for something wonderful. It’s what I was looking for, but I didn’t expect it to be so close at hand. I wonder how long it’s been waiting for me.