Friday, July 9, 2010

Hello from the Twilight Zone

It's really just Bolivia. 3:35 a.m. I'm in the airport.

Here's what's going on: My official Peace Corps time is up. I'm staying longer, of course, but almost everyone arrived with, the PC equivalent of my high school class, will be leaving on August 6. It's the opposite of moving away, but to the same effect.

Due to the timing of a family vacation, I decided to take a trip home and them come right back for our close-of-service ceremony. But some of them will already be gone. In Peace Corps, you have two lives: You're in-site life and your capital, hanging with the other volunteers life. I'm losing half of my life in Paraguay. (Although I have made new friends in other groups, of course. But no friendships are as battle-hardened as those that were formed during training.)

All that is adding to my Twilight Zone effect, but also, there's this nervousness about this trip that I've never felt for a flight before. I realized flying is the opposite of living in Paraguay. Paraguay is show up when you want, there's plenty of space, there's no forms you have to have in hand. With a flight you have to get there early, cram in, having your passport, your boarding pass, your customs slip. It's a word you hear a lot from Peace Corps volunteers having contact with the American world again after two years: overwhelming.

I forgot to fill out the official form for my vacation and had to rush to the PC office to write it out at 4:40 p.m. It was supposed to be approved 10 days in advance. The people at the airport tried to tell me I had to pay the $135 visa just to pass through the Bolivian airport. No no, I said. I'm waiting until the 5:30 a.m. boarding of my bottom-dollar frankenstein flight. My eyes and nose are burning from the altitude of Bolivia, at more than 13,000 feet. I'll be in a box with wings all day, trying to sleep. Then I just want to fall into the arms of my best friend in Miami, and let her take me away to another place were tranquility rules: Key West.

2 comments:

hisc1ay said...

You've definitely been there longer than I had, and I remember feeling totally out of place in the one spot on earth I should have felt normal. It took several weeks for things to feel familiar again. Good luck. Enjoy the Keys! :)

-j

Ken, Christie, Camille, Caroline said...

Hope you arrived okay and you'll be back in internet land soon... or Paraguay land, whichever comes first!! Enjoy the break, but come back soon. :)