Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Hubris

Just when you think you are on top, life reminds you that having a big head is a bad thing.

So, it is pretty easy to get pretty darn self-confident in Peace Corps. First off, more often than not, you are the American. You get to describe your home country any way you want and everyone and their grandmother has got to accept your word at face value. You are the expert. You got this experience down. After more than 2 years, you feel like you know your host country and Peace Corps intimately. Any newbie can ask you anything and you've got the answer.

It is pretty heady to think you are a super smarty-pants.

Of course, something will come around and knock you back down to size. Be it another PCV  or an experience that remind you that you don't got nothing figured out...whatever it is, it will happen.

For me, it was food poisoning. That's right. Food poisoning.

Three years ago, me and my big head walked into training declaring the iron-cladness of my stomach and boasting that nothing could rock my iron disposition. "I am Alaskan. I was born to eat unusual things!" Three months and 15 pounds lighter, I thought I had learned a lesson:
Bacteria does not care where you grew up.
Of course, just last week, I did it again. "Three years and I can handle anything," I proudly proclaimed. Yeah. Right. I have not been able to leave my house for 2 days because I fear a very real Bridesmaid episode a-happenin'. New lesson:
Bacteria does not care how long you have lived in one spot.
Maybe, I have finally learned the real lesson:
Stop boasting. Bacteria can hear you and they accept your words as as a challenge.
Sometimes, the lessons just take longer to learn.