Thursday, May 11, 2006


When I lived in Mongolia, gracious, wonderful friends and family members would send me reading material. "Reading material" was a loosely defined phrase that encompassed receipts, help wanted ads, information about college applications, magazines, and books of all genres. My parents frequently sent me Reader's Digest, which often features articles like: "10 Easy Steps to Reclaim Your Time," or: "How to organize your life to reduce stress". Reading these articles was something akin to eating soup in 100 degree weather. You sweat even more and your tongue stings for a couple of days...All I had was time. All I could imagine, while laying on my too-small bed in my ger, were the days, stacked onto days, onto days like Lego building blocks. Eventually, the tower of days that I had constructed in my mind out of brightly colored plastic blocks went onto infinity and I slowly went crazy. This is what having too much time will do: you will be forced to overdramatize everything and imagine what a visual representation of time would look like.

Other PCVs and I would discuss this phenomenon. Our conversations usually went something like this:

A: What the hell are Americans so busy doing? Don't they have electricity, appliances, paved roads, and personal assistants over there? Isn't it the easiest way of life on the planet?

B: You would think. When I go back to America, I'm never going to complain about being too busy or being too stressed out. I'm going to set my car on cruise control going 75 mph, call up my friends on my hands free cell phone, and just enjoy life.

Then the conversation would just disintegrate into, "The thing I miss most about America is...." and a perrenial favorite, "If I was back in America right now, I would do.....". The point is, our social and technological infrastructure should make life easier. Paved roads, electrical wires, wi-fi towers, satelite radio, cell phones, washing machines, automatic vacuum cleaners, and crockpots all mean that we can do more while not actually being at home. As I was organizing (or attempting to organize the shambles of my finances), once I finally made it home from my hour commute to the daycare, I realized that my life is bogged down in debt: organizing, filing, thinking about, and finally paying the bills take up so much of my adult life that I don't actually spend much time on the wi-fi internet that I pay $30 a month for.

Add in trying to feed and keep Zac and I clean, and there you have a typical night. I guess this is life - single and not-so-pregnant.


jenna said...

why did you have so much time on your hands over there?

Pregnant In Texas said...

No television, telephones, very, very limited radio reception, no electricity, didn't speak the language well enough to make friends, didn't have enough food to really cook for myself (usually mutton with rice, mutton with potatoes, mutton with carrots).

I had a cat, whom I named Buddy because he was best friend. He and I spent a lot of time together. He was killed and eaten by dogs, though, when I left my village on vacation.

jenna said...

oh my god! no wonder you wanted to come home!!