So in the first few weeks I was here, I wrote about this day we had called “team building.” It was where all the trainees had to trek into the woods on one of the hottest days and play all these team building games. We were broken up into like 10 groups and had to do all these events in the heat. It happened to fall on one of those days where everything was really getting to me. You have days like that here; days when you’re just thinking “what the hell am I doing here? I want to go home!” This was one of those days for me. I hate hot weather and I really don’t like those kinds of things. Plus, we were only a week or two into training so even though I had met people I liked, we weren’t nearly as close as we are now. We were still a giant bunch of strangers forced to live together. Heading into this day, I was dreading it and was just about ready to throw it all away and go home.
So after the first half hour of the getting to know you games, we broke into our teams. I don’t know who it was that was looking out for me that day, but it was someone or something. I randomly ended up on a team with the boys pictured here. (From left to right: Me, Jeremy, John, Thomas). I hadn’t met them, didn’t even know their names but am forever in their debt. Why? They made the day fun. I didn’t ask them to, they weren’t doing anything but being themselves and they made me laugh the entire day. I was standing in the middle of a forest in the middle of a city in the middle of a country in the middle of Eastern Europe in the hot, hot heat, doing things I didn’t want to do and I was laughing my ass off…because of these 3 guys. I doubt that any of them have any idea the profound effect they had on me but it was at that moment that I decided that I could handle this. All I had to do was ‘find my bees.’ (See footnote)
A mere 6 weeks later, I am now lucky enough now to actually know them, but even if I had only met them that day and never seen them again, the effect still would’ve been just as significant. It may sound dramatic to say that they saved me, but it’s actually precisely what they did. They saved me from myself. Without any effort, they illustrated that you can do anything if you can find the right people to do it with. Every time I see any of these guys now I immediately smile because I think of that day and the laughter that we shared together. Every once in a while we talk about that day and joke around about it but I don’t think any of them have any idea the effect they had on me or what they did for me. They don’t need to. But I will always have eternal gratitude to them for that simple task of being themselves and making things fun. Knowing these guys is a privilege and I’m still befuddled as to how I was so fortunate to be surrounded by them when I needed them most. Everyone should be so lucky at low points in their lives to be surrounded by 3 guys like them. They will do a great service in the Peace Corps because their laughter is infectious and their personalities are genuine; both of which is a hard find. Envy me, because I get to call them friends.
**Footnote – “Finding your bees” is a term my dear friends Andrea, Eileen and I coined in reference to the music video “No Rain” by Blind Melon. http://video.google.com/videoplay?docid=7763324546201298850 In the video, a dorky little girl is dressed in a bee costume and is very proud of her performance in a talent show until all of the other kids start booing her. Sad and disheartened the little girls runs away until she finds a field filled with people who are also dressed like bees and she is immediately happy because she has ‘found her bees.’ The gist being, you basically just have to find the right people that ‘get you’ and anything is possible.