I’ve learned a lot of new things in the Peace Corps (how to kill mice, how to speak Albanian, how to speak Macedonian, how to wear high heels all winter long – well, maybe not the last) but sometimes I feel as though I’m mostly forgetting things. Tonight I tried to use paypal to pay $3 to download a magazine to read on my laptop, only it turns out that all my banking information has changed since I’ve entered the Peace Corps. My parents have moved, changing my home address; my credit card has changed; my checking account has changed. This is the sort of thing that sends up a red flag at paypal headquarters, so they froze my purchase. In America I probably would have straightened this out but here I just stared at my “frozen account” email for a minute before closing the screen and finding some chocolate, because I no longer have any idea how to solve even the most minor of banking problems.
In January, when I was about to leave for my trip to Egypt, Jordan and Israel, I had to call my bank to tell them that I’d be on a trip and to please not freeze my account while I was traveling. Only, my parents had just moved and I couldn’t remember their address, but I tried and failed to give it to the woman anyway; then I tried to give her my family’s old address but couldn’t remember either the street name or zip code of the address I lived at for roughly seventeen years, and then I tried to give her my old address in Philadelphia but I couldn’t remember that either, and when I tried to sell her my sob story about how I was in the Peace Corps and hadn’t even spoken English in months she told me to call back when I could offer some information that I actually, you know, had ever banked with them. (I got my mom to call them for me.)
Other things I’m pretty sure I’ve forgotten how to do: write cover letters; write resumes; use craigslist to find apartments that aren’t so creepy they make me want to cry; order coffee from a Starbucks imitator; drive; use the self-checkout at a supermarket; use any part of a supermarket; cross streets; ride a bicycle; buy train tickets; use gym equipment.
I’ve got six or seven months left so it’s a good time to think about these things. But one day soon I’ll write something about all the things I’ve learned here – and man, I bet you are looking forward to that!