99 Bott....Uhhh....Days To Go / by Alan Strathman

Today I have 99 days to go until my service is finished. I booked a flight for August 24th. This is the first time that I have thought about my time in the PC in terms of days rather than months or years. For the first 20 months I casually marked the anniversary of my arrival in St. Lucia, June 12th. That is, on the 12th of each month I would reflect on how many months had passed since I had arrived.

But sometime around the 21st month I think I started paying more attention to how much time I had left, being aware that on the 24th of each month I had one month fewer to go.

I'm not sure you can read this far without thinking, "But who's counting!?"  And despite what you might think, none of this is a sign that I don't like it here and am ready to go. I am happy in the PC and happy serving in St. Lucia.

It's not necessarily a good sign that I am so keenly aware of the all these dates. In my pre-PC life I was always so time urgent: where am I going next, what time is it, am I late? When I arrived here in St. Lucia and began serving I put all that behind me. And I think it caused my blood pressure to go down. I still take less blood pressure medication than when I arrived. So being here has been good for my health. One reason I was able to do this was that I knew I would be here for 27 months and that seemed so long that I didn't feel the need to think about time in the same way that I had.

Another reason I have become less time urgent, not at all time urgent really, is that I do not have a car and must rely on travel by bus. But bus travel here is unpredictable and uncertain. When you get on a bus you have to wait until it fills before you leave. This can take minutes or hours. And there is nothing you can do to hurry it along.  So you just sit back, relax, and wait.  It's important that whenever I am meeting other PCVs and am technically late because my bus has not filled yet, I know that the friends I am meeting understand the situation and wherever they are they are waiting patiently for me, and likely others, to arrive. And often I can be sure that even though I am technically late, others are probably later. Through no fault of their own.  I say "technically late" because when we set a time to meet we all understand that meeting at that time is a goal, something to shoot for, but given how little control we have over how quickly we travel somewhere, being on time is a relatively fluid concept.

So, I'm fighting my return to time urgency. I really hope that when I return to the U.S. I can maintain a relatively low level of time urgency.  If I can, it will be one of the many benefits of having served 27 months in PC-St. Lucia.  Though, I admit, if you were betting on who would win the battle--me or time urgency--the smart money is on time urgency!