April 18, 2012

My Wish Song

In the village I have become obsessed with past and present podcasts of This American Life. I listen to one every morning during breakfast and while I wash my dishes. The podcasts suck up an hour of seemingly endless time. This American Life has the ability to hold my attention for the full hour, which is a task that is becoming increasingly more difficult with my old age, and Ira Glass has a really sexy voice.
I currently have about 3 years worth of the podcasts on my iPod, and through my daily listenings I recently made it to the August 8th, 2010 issue, entitled Promised Land. It is the introduction to Promised Land that has me writing tonight. Sexy Ira opens the episode by explaining the wish song.
The wish song is the first song that the main character in any musical sings solo. Think back to your Disney watching days and you will be able to mentally catalog a whole slew of wish songs. (Little Mermaid, Beauty and the Beast, Cinderella, and Aladdin) The wish song is what sets you, the viewer, up to know just what it is the main character is going to be striving for in the next 90 minutes of your movie watching life.
So, on this sleepless night, Ira has got me thinking about what my Wish Song might be about. During my Peace Corps service I have had many wish songs. Sometimes multiple ones in a day.
• I wish to hope that I am actually only about to fart and not shit my pants
• I wish the rain would wait just 10 more minutes
• I wish a girl would magically show up and want to get water for me
• I wish I could fall asleep without needing to know what that creepy noise in the other room is
But on this breezy night, just a few days before I leave the village for good, I know that my wish songs, more often than not, are about wanting to be in two places at once.
I am so happy with how everything went with my service and I am happy that I was lucky enough to honestly LOVE my village and my time there. That being said, I am ready for a change, and am excited about moving into town. I want to soak up these last few days, but I also want to be done and in town.
I love being alone in my bed like this right now. Writing away, naked, with only the light from my headlamp lighting up the room. But it also wouldn’t be awful if I was in a different bed, tangled up in the arms of someone with southern charm.
OR, I could be back in my bed, in America! On a spring mattress knowing that Momma Julie will have French Toast ready for me when I emerge in the morning. It is so hard not to want to be two places at once.
OR, it could be morning time and I could be sitting in my host family’s compound eating mangoes and peanut with my Amai and Atate while my beloved Mesa sits at my feet as the rain rolls in.
OR, I could be all alone in the village with everyone else at school or in the fields and I could go my whole morning only hearing Ira’s voice and the occasional swear word that escapes me.
It is so hard to not want to be two places at once.
I spent a lot of time at the beginning of my service worrying about two things at once. 1. What the hell am I doing here? 2. What am I going to do when I am done here? Then, somewhere in the middle of it all I started to realize that I needed to focus on only one place at one time and picked Zambia over America. I maintained that mindset for quite a while. Now that my time in the village is coming to a close it isn’t a frantic sense of urgency that has me wanting to be in more than one place at once. It is more like a lovely appreciation for all of the places that I have been lucky enough to of called mine over the past two years. It seems more like nostalgia than longing if that makes sense.
Then I remember that the Universe has lots more in store and that none of these places have ever really been mine. They were all of ours, and I thank you all so much for coming along with me on all of these adventures and being so supportive throughout my time here.

I wanna be where the people are
I wanna see, wanna see them dancin'
Walking around on those - what do you call 'em?
Oh - feet!
~Little Mermaid~


  1. Maggie:
    I have very much enjoyed joining you on your journey to Zambia. I believe that you just wrote your wish song...and that is for people like me to learn to appreciate the journeys each of us has taken and what we have the opportunity to share with others. It is now your turn to give to others, as the people of Zambia have given to you. I truly believe that this experience has been a journey that has changed your soul, in such a profound way. While I miss seeing you like crazy, I know that the whole world is awaiting you and what you will do next. You are such a strong woman. Cherish this experience, as I know you will, but share its lessons with all you encounter. So proud of you!

  2. Maggie, thank you so much for sharing your experiences and thoughts and feelings with all of us. You are an inspiration. May all your wish songs come true.