I do not like roller coasters.
Heights and I do not get along well and I detest anything that involves moving downhill, i.e. skiing, sledding and even descending while biking and hiking.
But lately, I find myself on a never-ending roller coaster, with high highs and low lows. A Peace Corps Niger friend, Judy, recently discussed the idea of the Peace Corps roller coaster on her blog and it is something that has been on my mind a lot lately.
The roller coaster theory is presented to us in training as a roadmap for our emotions for the next tow years. At some points, you’ll be very confident in your work and excited to be a Peace Corps Volunteer. At other times, you’ll doubt your ability to make a difference and you decision to come here.
One of the prime up-and-down times is the first three months. You come off of training, emphatic to have the language and cultural lessons over and actually begin working. Eventually, the newness and excitement wears off and you suddenly realize how lonely this experience is, how you can’t express or even be yourself. But, like any roller coaster, it will pick back up again and bring you to a different high.
My first few months in village have been filled with a swirl of happy-sad. Some mornings, I wake up feeling energetic and optimistic about my role in the village. Other days, I am full of doubt and indecision.
The lows can be hard to get through. Often, I want to lock myself in my house and eat as much American-sent chocolate as I can manage to stuff in my mouth. Yet, what always gets me through is knowing the next high is coming. If I hold on until the next day, or even the next hour, sweet reassurance will come.
And, without fail, it does. Like any trial or tribulation in life, the hard is make what the good good. The low points make the high points so very worth it, and when I look back at these two years later on, the highs and lows will both be highs.