Thursday, June 16, 2011

Adjusting to City Life

I have been in the big city – aka, Managua – for one week now, and the transition has been rough. Upon my arrival, I instantly developed what is either a head cold or allergies. I’m not sleeping well, since my campo sleeping schedule clashes with urban life completely. And, on one of my last days in site I twisted my ankle coming down the hill from my latrine. So I am not in great shape. Still, I am really happy to be here.

I loved my community, but if I have learned anything about myself over these two years, it’s that I am a city person, through and through. I love visiting the countryside, but I am not cut out to live in it long term. I am so excited about all the opportunities the city presents – restaurants, dance classes, cultural events, and of course, new people to meet.

Still, getting used to city life again is a big adjustment. I have become accustomed to having a particular structure to my day, and adapting to a new schedule is jarring. In fact, I am a bit nervous about trying to adjust to working for 8 hours out of every day, at a desk! In front of a computer! In air conditioning! Will I be able to do it? So far, I have come home exhausted after every day, even though I am generally less active than I was in site. Maybe it’s the head cold or the insomnia, but I think it’s also the adjustment to a different work environment.

There’s also the over-stimulation of the city, which, come to think of it, may be contributing to my insomnia. In the campo, there was nothing to do after 8 pm. Ok, maybe not nothing. I could have watched telenovelas with my host family until 9:30. But after that, literally nothing. I don’t have many friends in Managua yet, but still it seems like there is too much to juggle. Do I want to have a drink with my friend from the European Commission? Or go with my roommate to see a concert at the Teatro Nacional? I am not used to having a social calendar at all, much less one that requires choosing one activity over another.

In July, I will be taking a month of Special Leave in the US – standard policy for PCVs extending service for a third year. Hopefully I will come back from my month in La Yunai having re-adjusted, at least somewhat, to a more urban way of being.