My other life

I was a Peace Corps volunteer in Mawlamyine, Myanmar, January ’19-March ’20. Even with the increasing chaos around Covid, evacuation was not anticipated. It happened fast, and with little time for goodbyes.

Lost list:
a community
an ever-present state of often exhilarating- and sometimes frustrating- disorientation
existing in a body that is always spectacle
air filled with non-familiar language and sounds
pomelo, rambutan, snakefruit, durian, jackfruit, 15 varieties of mango, 25 varieties of banana
an openness in myself that by instinct and necessity became m.o.
greeting smiling, sometimes astonished, strangers
greeting scowling, disapproving strangers
things happening when they happen
heat that rules all
quiet streets at dawn in the Muslim quarter
morning tea & Indian pastries at Schwe Nan Daw
pagodas’ glittering night lights
dogs that own the city after dark
green mosque by the river
flowering trees flowering bushes, fragrances floating
sense of impermanence: each sight, flavor, friendship temporary – already inclusive of its own loss

Jessica Grim

Location: Oberlin, Ohio

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