And I look too far ahead.
So I am getting better at Kiswahili. We had a pre-test to our penultimate test (which is at the end of training in August) that precedes the final battle taking place at COS (Close of Service) two years from now.
Now, speaking purely in terms of long run consequences, the only test that really matters is the close of service test since it is the one that would or would not provide me with a letter testifiying to my ability.
That said, I feel delightful today because I am pleased with my performance on my language test this morning.
I feel as though I am actually beginning to be able to communicate in another language. This is not something that I have ever experienced before and - as verbal as I am - I find it quite pleasing.
I am worried as well though about the realistic possibilities of my maintaining and improving my ability. Many volunteers have already spoken to us about sites that simply have little use for Kiswahili. It's either regional dialect or english. And I would really love to leave with a language near fluency.
This leads to the topic of my entry here. Which is what the hell am I going to do after this.
And I know, you are saying, "Nate, considering that you don't even know where you will be working or what you will be doing for the next two years, isn't premature to be getting concerned about what comes after?"
What you don't know is that this is a problem I actually began wrestling with before I even found out I would be coming to Africa. In fact, I have thought about this since I first conceived that joining the Peace Corps would be a good experience in the first place.
So, entreaties to be patient are well intentioned, but - sadly - tardy.
ON to the over analytics!
This world is just so much bigger than I have ever had the chance to experience and I am having trouble imagining simply returning home after this and starting again where I left off.
I feel like I am on a trajectory and I am gaining experience in a certain realm and it would be foolish to simply break off and start over. Both practically and personally (as in I am excited about the idea) it seems like continuuing in this vein would make sense.
If I am fluent and I do feel comfortable in Development and in East Africa, I would love to work for a consultancy firm that evalutates aid efforts. (This is also where I have to admit that I have been reading nothing but development theory books for the last month). I would really enjoy the tight and focused analytic work that I think my education prepared me well to do combined with the pleasures of exploring and talking to people in different places.
If we can bypass ( as I constantly do) the fact that I am way under qualified for such work, it sounds ideal.
But that means staying away from home...and that means not doing improv for at least a few more years.
It is a trajectory that goes increasingly away from the activity - among all my activities - that has never been a question. I want to do improv for the rest of my life. It is everything good in one little box. Its team dynamics, performing, humor, intelligence and totally free creation in one. Its perfect.
But its not possible hopping around the world.
I know very well that to do it seriously (or to be taken seriously in it) i need to be based (for me, in chicago) for a good 8-10 years.
So when does that start? How do I feel comfortable about where my energy is going, the kind of money I will be making and the life I am constructing?
Also, when am I going to be able to publish my short stories? And go back to camp? When will I get to improve at skateboarding and study capoiera and teach english in Southeast Asia and go sea kayaking in Alaska and and and and
WHERE IS ALL THIS GOING? WHAT WILL I DO WITH MY LIFE?
And, at first, this might seem to make being here that much harder. Thinking about all these big things and their final and infinite destination makes the slow steps and pace of life here, as well as the prospect of the frustratingly slow work that is approaching, might seem to make life unbearable.
But Hannah said something that stuck with me. That these two years are a gift. A chance to actually not worry about any kind of big picture. A chance to simply get up each day and work hard to make the day a good one.
At the end of my life, I can't see regretting waiting two more years to enter the rat race (if that is to be my fate).
And the time for daydreams and hobbies, for exploration and free thought will never be better than right now. When, again, will I not have to worry about paying for anything or doing any work that I don't set out, conduct and evaluate myself?
So I struggle with my planner's mentality and I try to enjoy the little things. The day to day. The little successes. The first language test.