Last night I’m buzzing my hair. I have decided that I will never grow out my hair again, and so far it’s been a fantastic decision. I am trying to get all the hair by my ear when the guard snaps off, and there goes a chunk of hair. Now I’m bald to the scalp on a two square inch patch on the side of my head.
My guitar playing has waned. My garden barely got off the ground. I stopped playing basketball at school. I sketch far less than I used to. I haven’t updated my blog in months. I am definitely in a slump.
But why? At this point in my service I am more capable than ever, and have begun to fulfill my year end goals. I successfully started the school newspaper—though we haven’t published yet things so far are promising. I have an English theatre group, though how well we do remains to be seen. Classes are going well, far easier than before. My Portuguese is good. Life here has become normal. So what’s the deal?
Well, life here has become normal, and the challenges of normalness sort of took me by surprise. They are all familiar: boredom, lack of inspiration and motivation, getting stuck in patterns. At the beginning of my service leaving my house every day was a challenge, every interaction intimidating, so the face that life was hard wasn’t exactly a surprise. I forgave myself easily for my bad days and congratulated myself for every victory. Now my perspective has changed, gradually enough so that I didn’t notice it. And no one warned me about the doldrums of the day to day. I had been bracing myself for an acute challenge: adjust to life, and now I find myself having past it. I figured that once I got past all the craziness everything would be fine.
And everything is fine. I am healthy, I am busy. But I’m a little bored. I had lost track of the long term challenges of friendship building and integrating into the community in lieu of the more exciting ones. Making friends takes time, and through a foreign language and culture an extra effort. I have never had terrible trouble making friends, but here even sustaining conversation requires focus. Can you imagine me having trouble sustaining conversation?
It’s time to refocus and address the new challenges. I have plans to improve my house, to get some guitar songs off the internet the next time I’m there, and to restart my exercise. More than that, I want to refocus on expanding my social network. I have a lot of acquaintances, my town is small so wherever I go I see familiar faces, but what I need is a step beyond.
A recap/revision of my year end goals:
Be able to play and sing a few songs on the guitar (a few has shrunken from around 10 to around 3)
Publish the first school newspaper
Become conversation in Shitswa (i.e. redefine “conversational”)
Participate in the English Theatre competition
Scuba certification (next week?)
boring ones involving home improvement
Not lose any more weight
Oh yes, and be happy etc.