Friday, April 15, 2011

When all else fails, read the manual

The title references an oft used phrase in radio production. I'm sure other professions capitalize on the irony as well, but I encountered it for the first time and with great frequency during my time in radio. Bible sized books of information for thousands of dollars of equipment and hardly a spine broken among them. Clearly I don't need to waste anytime reading because I am young and brilliant. I grew up with technology, why should I bother to read the manual? In reality, this thought process applies to almost all parts of my life. Did you read the pamphlet for your 12 speed blender with slicing attachment? Didn't thinks so.

I found myself chuckling and thinking of this phrase during the past week. Turns out the Peace Corps isn't quite so elusive with the general facts about my upcoming life. Many of them are included in a neatly put together, 50 page, "Welcome Book," including a 45 book long recommended reading list. (I read less books in college, maybe ever.) It turns out two years in Paraguay isn't an MP3 player. I did not receive all necessary information by magical osmosis. I stumbled upon the welcome book underneath a back pack and began to read. Turns out this was sent with all my other initial information. So to review, when all else fails, read the manual.

Granted, lets not think that the next two years has now been carefully outlined for me. There are still a lot of fluff terms like "cultural differences" and "don't get arrested." But they have included incredibly useful information like, my address in Asuncion for the first three months; that I will, in fact, be in Asuncion for the first three months; and that since Americans are fat, we will all be issued bicycles upon arrival. There are also general behavioral outlines. Getting pregnant is frowned upon, and riding a motorcycle is strictly forbidden. Mostly, it seems that if I don't make an ass of myself, I'll be fine. Unfortunately, sometimes I struggle with this.

I'll be sure to post things like and address, a phone number and an email as we get closer.

Much love, and go Yanks.