People bump into people. We interact, we talk, we move around, we stare at each other, and sometimes, in small ways, we leave an impression on someone else. We may never even know it, but it’s there.
-Like the lady I buy my parking ticket from every morning. It’s barely seven when I roll up, still dark out, sometimes hailing, raining, snowing, windy, and overall crappy Boston weather, and she always greets me with a “good morning!” and a “how are you?” I look forward to this every morning.
-Like chatting with my waitress at dinner only to find that she just returned from Peru with the Peace Corps. Even though I was a complete stranger, she gave me her e-mail address and offered to help me out with anything that I might need. I e-mailed her over the weekend and she already responded. I’m constantly amazed by the generosity and openness of strangers–particularly strangers of the Peace Corps variety.
-Like trekking for miles and across state lines to reunite with old friends and suddenly feeling all the walls come down. Suddenly being able to be yourself because they know you, have seen you at your best and worst, and still like you. You don’t even realize how much effort you put into having your guard up all the time until you get the chance to let it down.
I guess what I am trying to illustrate is that people are surprising, and that relationships (forever or for an instant) are irrevocably tied to peoples’ happiness. I know one of my biggest challenges as a Peace Corps Volunteer will be overcoming feelings of isolation–isolation from being in a new culture, from not speaking the language, from feeling disconnected to people at home. It’s inevitable. It’ll be more prevalent at the beginning, but I’m sure there will be bouts of it throughout the next two years.
I know I’ll survive it though, because people are everywhere. People are bound to bump into each other, even if they don’t speak the same language or dress the same or eat the same. I get the feeling that the small interactions and exchanges will help make my life in Nicaragua happy. And if I’m really lucky, maybe I’ll even be able to develop some forever relationships as well.