Most of the things I miss can come down to one very important thing: Independence.
One thing that PST is very good at stripping you of is your independence. So when the little things get you down, like wishing that you could have toast for breakfast that had actually been toasted recently — and not several hours earlier — it can all be traced back to a lack of independence. We depend on our host families and trainers for everything when we are in the village.
Earlier this week during our recent two-week stay in the village, HP, the training coordinator, interviewed each of us to see how PST was going. One of the things I brought up was the feeling I had of loosing my tenuous grip on adulthood. Maybe it is different for people who have been adults longer, but I have only been doing this adult thing for four years now. I am finding it easy to regress back to a college-like — heck, a middle-school-like — state in the camp-like environment that is PST (I wonder if I could have worked more likes into that sentence).
Later in the week I had a chat with HP where he mentioned that he had thought about being a teacher one day.
“You are a teacher now,” I said.
“No. I am a professional trainer. I see you as professionals,” he replied (in my paraphrased, yet using quotes, throwing journalism ethics to the wind story telling).
However, when I thought about it, I don’t see myself as a professional anymore. I see my self as an adolescent or kid of some kind. There are silly-songs and warm-up activities and skits. The only thing we are really missing is bonfires and arts and crafts — soon we will all make lanyards to send home to our moms. I have come to see the trainers as these older, camp-counselor, authority figures. In reality, one trainer is only five years older than Cale.
I don’t think that this is an inherent aspect of PST. I think that it is just a role I have found myself slipping into. I have so little control, over so little things that I think I find it a coping method to let myself let go of even the few adult-like things I still had and fall back into the role of kid and student.
There are times though that I find myself day dreaming about things like buying my own groceries and making my own toast.