By Conor Sanchez
I’ve been in site for 76 days. Prince was still alive the last time I left Nueva Guinea. I turned a whole different age. The world was a younger planet and the fate of Jon Snow had not yet been realized.
Tomorrow I’m leaving and I’m prepared to encounter a world I hardly even recognize. What the world doesn’t know, however, is that I, too, have changed. Here’s how:
- I used to think acclimating to the climate here would make me indifferent to air-conditioning. Instead, the reverse happened. A/C has become a luxurious amenity that I only get to enjoy when I pretend to have something to do at the Claro store on main street. I dream about it occasionally. I crave it especially around 2 pm when the sun is angriest. I’d go so far as to say that I would take an A/C over the latest iPhone. Yup, I said it.
- I’m taking the LSAT next week, and I’m pretty sure a rave could be happening at the test center and I’d barely notice. That’s because Peace Corps provided me with nearly perfect study conditions. Roosters screaming outside, music blaring at the house next door, firecrackers randomly going off in the distance, and the man circling the neighborhood yelling, “I got popcorn and toilet paper! Popcorn and toilet paper!” are just a few of the things you hear as you try desperately to understand the reasoning error in a curator’s assertion that a “piece of artwork possesses aesthetic value if, and only if, there are people who see it and enjoy it.”
- I can now trust my wife to handle any animal or insect crisis while she’s at home alone. Whenever I’m gone, for some reason that’s when all the creepy-crawly creatures of Nicaragua decide to come out. One day I got a call from her telling me a giant lizard called a basiliscus trapped itself in our roof, then dive-bombed from a hole in the ceiling to the floor, and ran to hide in our shower. Scorpions, roaches, and beetles the size of my hand have all stopped by to say hello while I’ve been away…under normal circumstances I wouldn’t be disappointed, but I kind of wanted to see that lizard.
- I get really excited when the water returns. So excited that I usually sing this song when it’s back on.
- I can hold the attention of 50 seventh graders for more than hour. Seriously, they actually listen and carry out some of the tasks I ask them to perform. Pretty sure this qualifies me to do anything.
- Apparently, I thought the pink and blue shirt with an enlarged polo logo in the photo below would be an excellent choice to wear on my birthday. Yeah, we’ve been in site a little too long.