On Sunday mornings, I am excited for my extra hour of sleep under the black tarp over my bed that dims my room to perfect sleep inducing temperature and solace. I jump for glee in my mind for the Sunday Morning.
But my mind turns.
During the week, I am awake and running around and talking to him an her but all from America. I always knew I would love my group of Chips but Sundays remind me of the remote life I will be living. Friends will not be half a km away, or even a bike ride away. Church cannot be with them at your site. You can turn to the only American and roll your eyes at your shared experience. Your giggles cannot be so uncontrollable that you and they are shushed. Inside jokes fade away. They will. Memories fade and it will get harder.
My mind streams fast on thoughts such as these on a cold morning. My family do not leave for Church. But I will have to join the family at my site. alone. No more Americans from training to run to and dispel my daily activities and cultural exchange.
When I walk, excited for my Sunday, I am to remember the Sundays, our bikes whizzed on the fresh tarred road as our names were called out by school children. Where we felt together and happy part of something rather than hearing out words alone. Answering them in broken Bemba and not be able to laugh at ourselves and almost fall off our bike.
Social groups are important. They help you sustain and keep yourself sane in a world where everyone’s eyes are on you.
Training has been a hectic schedule with studying and lessons and sessions taking every moment of the week away and leaving Sunday to drain us and bore us. So many sounds outside and I only hear silence.
Sundays bring out the voices inside your head. It poisons your confidence and eats away at your loneliness. Your need to speak English bed you to find someone who understands.
But hold on for the breeze will tear into the cold you feel and the warm sun will suddenly be blinding and the room you have will seem the safe home you should stay until you can sleep and bring tomorrow closer. But do not despair.
Do not despair. For you will harden. You will create and you will find to fill up that Sunday. With people of your country and goals. Small at first. One at a time. You will no longer feel that Sundays trick you with their time. Find that you wanted time and then too much time. For your service will test you. Test you to search the the heart that wants to hide in the shadows. But step out, into the blinding light and find no fear there. No fear if you don’t speak English for three or four hours or even the day until night releases you. Do not fear being free. Do not fear freedom in an unknown land.
For it may even heal you.