Re-entry Blues

Peace Corps Online: Peace Corps News: Library: Peace Corps: The Third Goal : The Peace Corps and the Third Goal: July 30, 2002 - The Christian Science Monitor: Niger RPCV Pearl Robinson teaches African issues : Re-entry Blues

By Ted Rodgers on Thursday, March 27, 2003 - 2:03 am: Edit Post

Friends,

A number of returning sojourners find themselves and the places and peoples they left behind changed in major ways. Sometimes folks get a little bluesy about the situation. As an eight time returning sojourner, I have had these blues, well, seven times. I tried to identify the causes of my dismay and identified eight major factors. These are named, in true academic fashion, as follows:

Déjà vu
Semantic Satiation
Phantom Limb
Unfinished Business
Friendly Insouciance
Stimulus Deprivation
Obsolescence
Expendability

I composed (and sing) a longer somewhat comic blues based on these themes. The shortened doggerel versions are reproduced below. Trust they resonate.

ted rodgers

RE-ENTRY BLUES

Deja Vu
Well, the outpost is over,
At last Iím home,
But, Wow, itís dj vu.
Iíve been here, done this, seen it.
I think Iíd rather be on the roam.
Wouldnít you?

Semantic Satiation
Like saying a word again and again,
Until it loses its sense.
Iím semantically satiated,
And I live my world in past tents.

Phantom Limb
Iím scratching an itch that isnít there,
Way out on a phantom limb.
Where are the legs I used to kick.
In my distant oceanís swim?

Unfinished Business
Iíve left my destiny incomplete,
Distant crises left to solve.
But what will happen now that Iím home?
The crises may just dissolve.

Friendly Insouciance
ďYouíve lived THERE, it must have been great!
Tell us exotic tales.Ē
But if your story is more than one-line,
Firm friendsí fascination fails.

Stimulus Deprivation
With exotic conditions Iíve had to cope,
Solving problemsís what makes us alive.
But the problems here Iíve all seen before.
Iím terminally stimulus deprived.

Obsolescence
I know I was skilled before I left,
Technologyís changed the game.
Iíve become obsolescent in this short time.
Thereís new CHILDREN I canít even name.

Expendability
I was the critical link in the chain,
They couldnít do without.
But somehow the chain is holding fine,
Iím the expendable gadabout.

Invisibility
In my foreign port, they knew who I was,
And most even knew my name,
Hereís home and I feel invisible.
Iím the waterboy at the game.

Deja Vu
Well, the outpost is over,
At last Iím home,
But, Wow, itís dj vu.
Iíve been here, done this, seen it.
I think Iíd rather be on the roam.
Wouldnít you?


Add a Message


This is a public posting area. Enter your username and password if you have an account. Otherwise, enter your full name as your username and leave the password blank. Your e-mail address is optional.
Username:  
Password:
E-mail: