“[Friends], you can see them out on the horizon like a great wave,
its whitecaps approaching. But on the other hand is a levee
that protects us, that of the women we can call anytime,
day or night, to say “I’m drowning here.”
(Author of “Lots of Candles, Plenty of Cake”)
The time after college is a very conflicting time. It consists of being on your own, like college, but without the social structure in place. Without friends down the hall, without friends in the next room, without friends just ten minutes across campus. When we moved to D.C., I felt this change immensely. Making new friends was difficult- I tried going out on putting myself out there and trying new things…..”friend” dates and book clubs- after speed reading an entire novel I forgot to read, I found out its not really that NECESSARY for some groups.I was so lucky to have a job that allowed me to meet such amazing people. The complicated part of this new unfounded territory is, the search for new friends isn’t the only item on the list, a huge part of the new life is maintaining old friendships. Some people are lucky enough to have both high school and college friendships to manage and sadly, some don’t make it. Though with social media, it makes it easier to “keep up” with others lives. Press “Like” if an old friend is engaged, married, having babies, getting new jobs, having a great date, getting flowers, etc. etc. One can argue this is a shallow maintenance and in the end doesn’t count for much. Just because someone can “see friendship” doesn’t mean it is really there.
When Tyler and I left for Peace Corps, my biggest concern (and still to this day) were our relationships. I tend to hang on to people and do my best to keep in touch (not just on facebook). But two years is a really long time, especially post college. Little did I know though, I would soon meet many people from all over the country, from different walks of live and with experiences to share that I couldn’t even imagine. I am now lucky enough to call some of these people friends. Some live close and I see them often, some a little further who I see them every couple of months and some even further than that where it has been six months between visits. But* disregarding the amount of time, we are able to bond in new ways. This experience requires support and a new type of family and friendship. Unfortunately, there are just some aspects of life here that are difficult for people at home- or even those serving in other countries- to understand. Likewise for family and friends back home, everyone is having experiences and living life, and it is more difficult to understand when someone is not there.
With all of craziness, Tyler and I have found friends that reflect the best parts of us, allow us to grow and we can count on their companionship. I have heard people ask, what will we talk about when we don’t have Peace Corps? It may be a similar experience to the “after college” syndrome, but even with that dangling above our heads, the bond that we have created will be a hard one to fracture. Peace Corps service requires vulnerability, emotions, hard times, frustrations which make the good times (usually in Rabat) even more sweet and creates an even more cement-able bond. This bond is a special one also because it some times requires spending large amounts of time with complete strangers whether it be at camps, on trains or buses, or even welcoming them to share my home. These experiences (unless couchsurfing is your thing) are unlikely to be replicated.
This has been a time that I will carry with me for the rest of my life, but the best part about our experience has been the Peace Corps volunteer friends. I have learned so much from them and know that they will continue to enrich my service in a way that I never expected. Much like the way Buzz and Woody forge an unlikely friendship through their adventure with aliens, piggy banks and Mr. Potato head- my new friendships are based unbridled excitement, difficult times and inconceivable moments that even those who experience them- find it hard to believe.
Cheers to Peace Corps friends!!!!
*close with Vitamin C’s song…. Graduation*