26 Reasons You Should Date Someone Back From The Peace Corpsby Kevin Frasure on July 18, 2012
1. We never get lost. We have been all over places that can’t be found on a map. We can follow confusing directions and can take you anywhere.
2. You’ll become a celebrity through proxy. Any former volunteer is a local celebrity in their community. When you go back with your Peace Corps volunteer boyfriend or girlfriend to visit, you will become the center of attention.
3. We are great with kids. We may not be prepared to have kids, but chances are, we have dealt with many that were not our own. It’s part of the job and temper tantrums aside, we generally enjoy it.
4. We are flexible. All plans go to shit? No problem! We had that happen daily to us. Every volunteer has planned countless meetings and engagements only to have everything fall apart for the most mundane of reasons. Almost anything you can throw at us is probably nothing compared to what we have been through.
5. We are masters of bureaucracy. Have a problem dealing with the system? Is the man getting you down? Any returned Peace Corps volunteer can help you deal with that. After all, they’ve spent 27 months dealing with some over-paid government employee’s enforcement of rules sent from Washington that were intended to apply to a small remote village the Washington employee has never been to.
6. We have an extensive network. Not only will your partner know more people than is healthy in their country of service, but the other volunteers we served with are invaluable. After 2 years, it’s like a small family. We have talked through everything from depression to diarrhea and will do anything for one another. And we will talk through anything with you, too.
7. We probably have a good job. Employers are always looking for returned Peace Corps volunteers. We made it through 2 years of some crazy shit. Employers know this and hire us with the knowledge we can handle anything they throw at us.
8. We are positive thinkers. As long as we aren’t around other volunteers, we remain positive about the goodness in the world. (But commiserating with fellow volunteers happens all the time.) Deep down, we believe things can and will be better.
9. We can live on a budget. Living 2 years on a monthly salary you probably make in a day is something we are totally comfortable with. No matter where we are, we make pennies stretch. You may call it cheap. I call it smart. I want my partner to be smart, don’t you?
10. We will save you money on future trips. Unless you are the all-inclusive type, dating a Peace Corps volunteer will save you money. We know how to cut corners on vacation, find things the guide books won’t tell you, and have a better time than any tour can offer. Money saved is money you can put toward more adventures.
11. We are independent. Any former volunteer has spent more time alone than prisoners in the hole. We have read more books and watched more movies than what is healthy. Bottom line is we can handle things on our own. We will not depend on you to spend every waking hour giving us attention. We can watch ants for hours and fully understand why chickens are relatives to dinosaurs.
12. We are low maintenance. You’ll never hear volunteers complaining about designer labels or water pressure. The water goes out? No problem! Bucket bath here I come. We adapt, we survive.
13. We deal well with failure. We have probably failed at more things that we were 100% sure would work than you have ever tried. Through failure, we learn resilience. Which makes us awesome boyfriends and girlfriends. We wish we knew how to quit you!
14. We appreciate the small things. Isn’t it crazy that when you turn the faucet water comes out? Or if you want it to be hot, it’s just another faucet? Or how f*cked up is it that the water you shit in is clean enough to drink? All these small things still blow me away every day.
15. We are good listeners and storytellers. We have put in some serious time sitting, drinking tea, and talking about the weather. (That’s what you do when there’s no MTV.) We have listened to so many stories from friends, and we’ve collected many great stories of our own. Watch out though, through this we become fluent body language readers. That passive aggressive look won’t go unnoticed.
16. We speak other languages. Can you understand every word to Sean Paul songs? Do you listen to BBC and know what the interviewed person is saying before it’s translated from a tribal African language? We can. It’s a blessing and a curse. And it’s sexy.
17. Bugs don’t bother us. After 2 years, we can probably pull a bug off our back, kill it, and put it on the floor without waking up. In the Peace Corps, you wake up next to a dozen bugs you never remember killing. You find entertainment in running into the other room with a shoe, flipping the light on and seeing how many cock roaches you can kill before they hide. Spiders aren’t shit. We play with tarantulas for fun. Ants are our favorite way to pass the time. We have an agreement. They carry out other bugs and they can stay as long as they stay out of the sugar.
18. Our Passport is always ready. We are always ready to leave. Wanderlust is our middle name. We go without questions and make shit happen.
19. We travel light. We essentially lived out of a suitcase for 2 years. Going for a weeklong trip will never require more than a pair of flip flops and a change of clothes.
20. We value diversity. Entering into the Peace Corps is entering a life with people from all over the world. We love it. That’s why we joined in the first place.
21. We can dance. This may not translate into impressing people at the club, but we have an eclectic taste in music and can shake it to the beats of African drums or Latin American rhythm. You ever wonder why everyone in other countries can dance? Because everyone does it, from infancy to the elderly. No one cares what you look like as long as you are having fun. These values have been passed down to volunteers because there was nothing the community laughs at more than a bunch of volunteers dancing.
22. We don’t mind getting dirty. Like it or not, we have probably gone longer without a shower and sweated more than anyone you know. Sweating is a national past time to volunteers and it is entrenched in the culture. The flag of Belize (where I was a volunteer) has “Sub umbra, floreo” written on it, meaning in Latin, “Under the shade, I flourish.” Did you hear that? We flourish.
23. We will eat anything. Cow foot soup, pig tail, goat intestine, snake, armadillo… you name it, we have tried it. Some of it is tasty, most of it is utterly stomach churning disgusting. We eat it anyway. This makes things easy for you if you attempt to cook for your date. They might not like it, but you won’t hear them complain. They may even ask for seconds. (And it also adds to the “reasons they are adventurous”, in case you are keeping a list.)
24. We can wait for anything. Have you heard that famous country song, “Waiting On A Woman”? If Peace Corps volunteers rewrote the song, it would be “Waiting On Everything.” A bus, a meeting, a party, none of it every started on time. A 9pm party doesn’t really start until 2am. You ask someone when the next bus will come; the answer is always “soon.” Once again, we’re patient. And waiting on you won’t be a problem either.
25. We know sex. Not only do we understand how to have sex, but most importantly how to do so safely. We can do condom demonstrations in our sleep and discuss HIV like a PhD candidate. We have been tested against every known STI, so you know we are clean (as long as we have just returned), and we have the education to stay clean.
26. You’ll gain not 1 but 2 families. I’m going to go nuts and say you shouldn’t just date a Peace Corps volunteer, you should marry one. You’ll gain their family in the US, and additionally an entire other family in the country they served in. You may have 2 separate weddings (more presents!) and another reason to wear whatever overpriced tux or dress you bought.