meet the peace corps: one month in, jessica…

24 Jun

no, that sounds bad. how about…

the jessica i know and love.

yes, that’s much better.

before i even knew her, there was just something about jessica that i knew right from the start i was going to love.

the first thing i remember about her is her luggage. at barely twenty-two years old, and all of five foot high, she was naïve enough to bring matching faux croc skin bags big enough to comfortably fit two years worth of provisions, plus herself, a date, and a romantic french dinner inside, and given the amount of candles we found in there, i think she had the dame idea.

one bag alone weighed ninety pounds. i think jessica weighs about eighty-five, soaking wet, after a hearty mexican meal.

as the legend dubbed “one bag dave” i was called in at the airport check-in desk to jettison the expendables. my team of experienced and sarcastic travelers set in on her bags, throwing out fluffy guest towels, extra large sexytime bath candles, cans of lysol and raid, family sized shampoo, value sized packages of bar soap, armageddon sized hand sanitizer, and a box of stationary that looked like she just swept her desk into a rubbermaid container.

somewhere between the check-in desk and the heineken bar at the gate, her carry on bag broke and will had to step in and give her some s-clips and a strap, while megan and i explained to her the differences between all the beers on the menu.

i had pegged jessica as the first of group 5 to die. not ET (early terminate. we’re nuts for our acronyms here in the PC), not admin sep (fired), not medi-vac, she was going to die.

during G5’s honeymoon in addis, jessica was known to throw a fit every time someone sat at her table without asking, or knocked on her door after 7:30 even if it was to visit her roommate, and she was often heard to say things during language class like “ama-blah-blah-blah-boo. whatever, i don’t know what the hell you’re saying”.

the first week of jessica was so special. there was just something so endearing about how destined she seemed for incredible disaster and/or international incident. i wanted to adopt her as my little sister just because i felt like i had so much to teach her.

one month in, jessica is tying a pocket flashlight into her dreads to use nasty shint bets in the middle of the night. she says things like, “i don’t even use toilet paper anymore. i just give it a good bounce and move on. i mean, what did they use before toilet paper?”

one month in, jessica is one of the unfortunate who had to switch from amharic lessons to a local tribal language halfway through training. one month in, jessica is meeting habesha (locals) on the bus and translating songs into oromifa (her new language) for them.

one month in, jessica is sleeping on concrete floors with seven other people in the room, saying, “i ain’t shy. dave’s already seen me in my booty shorts. whatever.”

one month in, without any real mentorship, jessica has become my odds-on favorite for PCV MVP G5 (there’s those acronyms again).

the awesome thing about jessica is that she hasn’t really changed much. she has just grown so quickly into the jessica she always could be. it’s like this is the life she never knew she always wanted.

one month in, jessica is a completely different PCV, but she is still the jessica i know and love.


stay tuned for our next episode:

we brake for monkeys.


easy listening: thao : bag of hammers


One Response to “meet the peace corps: one month in, jessica…”


  1. meet the peace corps: bailey’s full of surprises. « winging it with whitey - 07/18/2012

    […] going to start making extra efforts to appreciate people again, i guess i’d better bring back meet the peace corps, hadn’t […]

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