Thursday, July 21, 2011

Fan Mail

As I started to write this post, I realized that every sentence sounded like a complaint, so let me throw some stuff out there:

  1. I am extremely grateful and humbled by the amount of care packages I receive.
  2. I love emails and even some of the forwards my dad sends - even if I have no idea why he sent them to me.
  3. I am a processor, so I need that constant contact. I need it.
With that being said, mail is a weird thing for a PCV. At first, you get quite a lot of it. Boxes from friends and family arrive with haste. Handwritten letters are not uncommon; and that run-on email from your bestie reminds you of all the stuff you are missing at home.

Unfortunately, over time, these things decrease in frequency. This is completely natural. After your first year of care packages, your stockpile of awesome loot is pretty high. You know that your shared experiences with your friends and fam remain the mainstay of your identity, but they are replaced by crazy "only-in-Peace-Corps" stories that nobody but other PCVs understand. You simply start to lose contact.

This happens. It has to happen. Without the slow integration of you into your host community, you would never be able to operate effectively in your host country. You have to lose some (if not most) contact with home so that you can put that energy and focus into your service.

Anyway, the other day I got a random post card in the mail from a reader of my blog. I was surprised and a little freaked out that somebody other than my dad, mom, and sister read this blog. The card now sits on my shelf, next to my Azerbaijani wedding pictures. It reminded me that even though the letter and emails have reduced in number, people are still out there who care deeply about what I am doing.