I was visiting the guest house where the MU students will be staying while they are here teaching at the summer reading camp we are offering. It is a guest house that has two apartments on the ground floor and then the owner lives in a big space on the second floor.
I was looking at the place with Frances, who is the guest house manager. She is also the sister of Mama Ju, my host mom, with whom I lived for three weeks when I first arrived in Laborie. After she showed me where the students will stay she and the guest house caretaker went upstairs to the owner's place. The owner spends most of his time in Minnesota. Frances looked through the cupboards and started throwing things out that were past the expiration date. Some of the things "expired" only last month. Including this:
I may have eaten Kraft macaroni and cheese three times in my whole life. I didn't even eat it in graduate school. But I snapped up this box like I was a first year grad student who couldn't boil water.
One way in which graduate school and Peace Corps are alike is that with neither do you get a salary. Instead, you are given a stipend. Here is a lesson for you: If you are taking a position in which you are being given a stipend, start hoarding mac and cheese. And don't say no to rice and beans.
Really, the lesson is that you should start acclimating to "and" foods. Here is a quiz: Which of the following can you afford on a PC stipend?
a. mac and cheese
b. chateaubriand (trick question because the "and" is not between two other foods)
c. rice and beans
d. filet mignon
e. cheese and crackers
g. peanut butter and jelly (but, in St. Lucia, only cheap pb)
If you guessed a, c, e, g then you have a good understanding of PC life. The long-time slogan of the PC is "The toughest job you'll ever love." It's good. And accurate for many. But here is one that is even more accurate: Peace Corps: The toughest job you''ll ever wish you got paid more for.
The PC just rolled out a new logo. Maybe its time to freshen up the slogan too!