Porch time. NPR tells me that the heat wave has broken, but I suspect their offices just have better A/C than mine.
It’s going to become obvious, I think, that this is (will be) as much a personal blog as a Peace Corps travelogue. One because no matter what they have me doing, there’s no way it’ll be worth two years of regular updates, and two because I have other stuff to write about that nobody’s going to pay me for, and this is as good a repository as any. Especially since nobody (excepting the faithful-to-a-fault Alex Guyton) will be reading it regularly, and I won’t have to worry much about who sees what, an ixnay from my country director aside. So in the coming forever, be aware that there will be (may be) off-topic posts, although I’ll try to keep the categories straight for the benefit of literally no-one.
Anyway, packing. I am not excellent at it. In Scouts, Dad and I spent the first thirty minutes of every camping trip on the road, figuring out if what we had forgotten was nonessential or if I’d be spending my week giving new life to a pair of increasingly fungal socks. I don’t know if I’ve packed sober for anything in recent memory—the stakes have never been high, and I usually haven’t started before the night-before sendoff. This time around, I’m looking to put my life into one large hiking pack, one medium rolling duffel, and one typewriter case that weighs more than my mom.
I managed it for Spain for five months, but I can’t say I did much planning or paid heed to the ‘you won’t be able to get this or that abroad’ advisories. Whether or not I could get this or that over there, I lucked out and forgot only what was readily available. This time, I’ll be packing glasses and backups, ten pounds of flouridated teeth products that my dentist assures me I’ll need to keep the meth mouth away, one suit and more businesswear than I’ve ever packed before, a space-taking camera, a bunch of electrical converters, every English-language books I want to be sure I can access for the next year, and a fucking typewriter.
I figure that I’ll be able to take about half my clothes and virtually none of my shit. As far as the peripherals I am bringing alone, it’s typewriter, laptop, camera, and fly rod. My dad’s big on it, I might be able to show some folks the benefits of clean rivers or supplement my diet or whatever (not likely). By and large, I’m pumped. To divest, to reduce my life to irreducibles. I don’t imagine the initial purge catharsis will get my through my term, but right now I’d lose the laptop too if I wasn’t packing a digital camera and a worthless blog. If I end up with a computer or at least periodic access through work, I might try to ditch even that, since with the fans shot and a keyboard shorted into uselessness by a Georgetown slumlord’s faulty A/C waterfall, the setup’s a bit of a goddamned mess.
Plus since I’m a video game nerd, it weighs what the British call a stone, and if I can avoid throwing my downtime into Total War, I’ll be one step ahead of where I was in Spain. By the by, I just slapped what I though was a mosquito but was apparently a tiny wasp. Puta fucking madre, man.
My preoccupation with English language books might seem misplaced since I’m not moving to Uganda or the southern United States, but if Mexico is anything like Spain, I can forget about finding the King’s in a bookstore. And while after a semester at University got me ready for straight history texts, Spanish literature is as hard as it ever was, and I can’t imagine that as good as my speaking and technical grasp gets that work will put me any closer to Marques or Borges. Double that if I cant call up SpanishDict at a moment’s notice. Although if anyone’s got a handy dictionary of idioms and aphorisms that spans a middle, Caribbean, and South America’s worth of Spanish, let me know. Anyway, I think I’ll cut it short for today. I’m not working off stored material anymore, so my posts might find themselves looking like they actually belong on a blog from now on. Saludos, friends.