Sunday, October 03, 2004

What Seeds?

Who Knows What Seeds We Plant In Others
(or which ones we water)

About once a month, a certain memory passes through my thoughts -- I think it is looking for an outlet.

I had been in Nepal for about three weeks. During the entire trip I relentlessly practiced my Nepali language skills on anyone that would listen. Given any chance, I would whip out my Nepali language phrase book and begin uttering. As a result, I had learned a few common Nepali phrases. I could confidently handle the first three minutes of any initial conversion.

I was in Kathmandu, and had been there for about three days. I was comfortable with the surroundings, and had already bought most of the gifts I had planned to buy. I decided to spend a whole day just walking around talking to whomever would listen.

Each session with a new stranger would start out with me attempting to speak in Nepali. After no time at all, I would bust out my Nepali phrase book and together we would slowly become acquaintances sharing the small, tattered book with each other.

During one of these sessions I was talking with a shop keeper. About halfway through, he asked me if I was with the Peace Corps. I remember thinking:

    I wish I could say yes -- It would be so cool if I could say yes -- Even a stranger sees that potential in me -- why aren't I in the Peace Corps?

This memory has been a frequent visitor of my consciousness ever since.


Anonymous said...

Jay, your post in yahoo PC group lead me here, and it is great reading your post. I saw this Nepal trip posted below and was not far from there myself. I just came back from Tibet and made it as far as the basecamp of Everest. The scenery throughout Tibet was asolutely breathtaking. They say though the scenery of Himilayan from Nepal side is of a softer beauty compare to the rugged terrain of the northern side. Good luck with your application process. I am hoping to go somewhere in Africa next summer.

Jay Haase said...

The Nepal side was very beautful!

Jay Haase said...

...and, good luck with Africa!

Jenna said...

I'm currently applying to the Peace Corps, I'm at the essay portion of the application process. I'm rushing to finish it, but trying to not rush too much, so I can make sure it's top notch. Anyway, I googled for help on Peace Corps essays, and found your blog there, your essay helped me a lot, i just wanted to say! I've been reading some of your blog since, and I got to this post. I have been endlessly stuck trying to find something to describe my ability in other cultures. I've been all over East Asia. But when I read this, I think it gave me my essay.

My last week in Beijing, I was in a taxi when the driver started talking to me in Chinese. It'd only been 6 weeks that i'd been there, so I wasn't great, but we were able to have a small conversation. Sometimes he'd say a few things in English with me responding in Chinese, and when we both were stumped with a word, we would try describing it in both languages, or just resort to sign language. In Beijing, we always said you knew you were truly making progress if you could talk to a taxi driver.

Thanks for sparking my memory and giving me that idea for my essay!

Hope Africa is treating you well! If you have any suggestions for me in applying and my essays, i'd much appreciate it!

Good luck over there!