I’m starting to feel fair to middlin’ well integrated, which is pretty damn exciting. It’s nice to stop and chat with the beans and rice ladies, the beignet ladies, and my vegetable lady, but that’s not quite the same as actually having friends. During Stage, we were warned that it would take months before we started making friends. I shrugged off the advice, realizing it’d be difficult, but thinking that it would be similar to moving to any other big city in the world.
Boy was I wrong.
Turns out, I don’t do too many things where I meet young people. I have my office job, of course, and I spend a significant amount of time on Peace Corps projects, neither of which introduce me to people my age. I have a lot of fantastic professional relationships, but there’s nobody in my life I can just shoot the breeze with. Who do I talk to about pop culture, news, politics (on a limited basis, of course)? What about hopes and frustrations and dreams?
I mean, it’s easy to find people who want to talk to me. The problem is that it’s damn difficult to find people who want to talk to me who don’t want something from me. Money. A visa to the US or France. Plane tickets. Marriage (to them, their brothers, their sons). More money. A job. English lessons (for free, every day, for hours, so that they can ask for money in my own language).
There are tons of people around that aren’t like that, but in my particular line of work, it’s tough to find them. I am meeting people. Slowly. One person introduces me to another who introduces me to another who introduces me to another, and at the end of the long chain, sometimes I find someone I want to hang out with. Even more rarely, I find someone who doesn’t want anything from me but friendship and exposure to another culture, exactly the same thing I want from them.
This weekend was frustrating in a lot of ways, but it was incredibly encouraging to find that after two months at post, I’ve started making real friends. I haven’t been lonely, and it’s not like I haven’t had people to chat with, but it was really good to just hang out for a while with interesting people.
Also, I have furniture. And kitchen supplies. And OMFG a refrigerator. And a bed. This morning, I woke up, rolled out of my BED, walked into the kitchen and got COLD WATER out of the FRIDGE. I poured it into a GLASS, then walked to my TABLE, sat down in a CHAIR, and enjoyed the peaceful morning. Tonight, I will entertain visitors around my COFFEE TABLE, around which they can sit in COMFORTABLE CHAIRS, eat off of PLATES, of which I now have enough for everybody.
Life is so fuckin’ good right now.