One Foot in the Door, One Foot Out

Suddenly it’s light until 7:00 again. There’s still snow everywhere and you can still see your breath inside, but now when I look out the window there is a sense of dramatic irony. I know that this winter won’t last forever. That idea lends a lot of hope and optimism to the situation. Fantasies of the spring thaw keep my mind wandering. It also springs my ass into gear when I think about what I need to accomplish before my service ends.

Finally I’ve started some early planning work for the strategic plan that I’ve procrastinated doing for a solid 18 months. We’re currently organizing the poetry contest and visiting schools for that. And I know when the weather turns I need to get an estimate for the solar project I wrote so that at least the proposal can be finished.

Those are cool and worthy things, and are the real reason I’m here. But I must be honest. I spend a lot more time thinking about my own personal life and how I’m supposed to transition from a dysfunctional society and an odd existence into something more in line with my aptitude. Specifically, finding a job in Poland, learning another language, and gearing up for some big, up-heaving life change.

Balancing the two is difficult. For example, going to an Armenian lesson and then going home and trying to teach myself Polish. The former is sold short because it suddenly seems uninteresting, only useful in the now, and is basically yesterday’s news. The latter is a bit more frustrating because of comparisons to the foreign language which feels comparatively easy, the one in which I’ve lived and worked the last 2 years.

Or going to work and being dead-set on making some sort of measurable progress on my somewhat flimsy goals. Then letting the overall office work ethic, or lack thereof (Wayne’s quote from the A-18 Welcome CD, “the work ethic should be daintily addressed” – not a truer thing has ever been written) lambast me into submission until I just don’t really care if I accomplish anything that day or not. Then instead spending the hours in the office searching and applying for jobs.

Or instead of enjoying the ample free time PCVs have (kind of), spending all of my time at home researching teaching English abroad, searching for office jobs, looking at strange grammar concepts, and trying to find some insight into making the process of working in a foreign country an actual attainable end result.

Do I feel guilty about this dual existence? The obvious answer with mild-comedic value is “yes and no.” My mind is constantly flopping like a beached trout between “I should be doing X for Armenia!” and “I should be doing Y for ME!” There is a huge variety of thoughts in the course of just one day, but this one seems to prevail more than the others:

“I may be on the fat government teat now, but I’ll be damned if I’m going to sit here wasting away not even thinking about my future when I can do something to actively alter the course of reality, which, at the moment involves me being unemployed at my parents’ house!”

I’ve also seen the future in one form: A-17s on Facebook. Their return to the states has been informative, eye-opening, and of course, annoying. Many have fallen victim to selective filtering of my news feed. Those who have survived up until now still seem to not have found jobs. That’s a bit troubling. Although I also think a lot of volunteers don’t put in a lot of work looking for a job during their service. I’m treating the job search like a full time job. Well, at least an Armenian job. So it involves lots of breaks for snacks, reddit, and email checking.

There are periods of transition in our lives and they offer a massive opportunity to take your destiny into your own hands. They provide the rare chance for systemic change yet also the stress of an end without a visible beginning. That’s where I am now. I’ve got nothing at the moment. I’m homeless and jobless in 6 months. I have already made up my mind where I want to be, now it’s up to me to make it happen. Gotta hustle!

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4 Responses to “One Foot in the Door, One Foot Out”

  1. Wayne Burt Says:

    I know I sound like a broken record, but you just don’t know how much I enjoy reading your blogs. Ev is a great writer. You are better. Half of your blogs are nostalgic to me and the other half or so informative as they tell me things that I never experienced, some of which I am sorry for. All your travels now make me envious of the things I missed. I never even nightmared about having to learn another language. The fact that I didn’t have to worry about a job when I got back or be concerned about where I was going to live, neither of which I had solid plans for, speaks to the notion that being a bit older and fairly carefree alleviated a lot of stress that many of the young volunteers must contend with. At 59, I have not one gray hair. But Kevin, things will work out for you only because you are giving yourself a lot of “me” time.

    I didn’t know I made the A17 CD. I do remember submitting several tidbits and am glad to know something made it.

  2. icenugget Says:

    I feel honored that you enjoy my writing so much Wayne. All the Peace Corps cliches seem to come true, including “no two experiences are the same.” For everything you are sorry about or envy, there is something that you did or accomplished which is beyond the scope of my journey.

    I heard that you had a birthday recently. 59 and no grays? I find that incredible. I’m 25 and already have a family of grays. But at least I can blame that on Armenia 😉

    Okay, a few were there before Armenia!

    Happy late birthday and enjoy being and looking way younger than your age.

  3. Gail Says:

    Kevin, I’m going to miss your blog posts when you finish in Armenia. If I were a coffee drinker, I would relate it to the first cup in the morning—something to savor, to look forward to. I always get excited when I see a new post but am sad when it’s over and I have to wait a week or so until the next one appears. Thanks for including us all in your journey these past few years!

  4. icenugget Says:

    You don’t have to worry that the blog will disappear. I think it’s been a great way to stay in touch and express myself, so I can foresee it continuing into Poland and beyond. It’s a great tool for selfish reasons, the biggest of which is my own nostalgia and memory of things come to past.

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