The number of hours Matt and I saw each other in all of February.
It has been much harder than expected to spend quality time together. One of our biggest expectations for PC was to spend more time with each other than we would know what to do with.
Sometimes like ships in the night Lilongwe calls each of us, individually, for one duty or another.
These times pose challenges that we have never really had to face in the states. Since September 2010, when Matt moved back to Virginia, we have not been apart more than 2 weeks at a time.
In the states we would call each other, text, or if we really needed to we could make a trip in a car to see each other. Here, we have Whatsapp, which as been great, but phone time is limited. At times phone signal is slow or down, there is no voice mail, and phone calls are expensive. Round trip from Lunjika to Lilongwe is a minimum of 4 days for what should be a 5 hour one way trip. This makes a quick visit impossible. Nothing in Malawi is quick.
I would like to say this is the only challenge to spending quality time together. However, during our New Year Resolution check-in we came to the conclusion that even when we were both at site we were not spending the kind of time together that we wanted or envisioned. The days home together were filled with chores and living a village life. We were being sure to share responsibilities, but not what was happening in our day. Household work was shared evenly but the simple things of what we were doing or how we were feeling hardly came up in conversation.
We realized that we didn't actually know how the other one was feeling about their service. At least not how we would have known about each other in the States.
I think we took for granted that the amount of time together does not make up for the quality of time together.
This lesson has not only been our biggest surprise but it has been our best.
Now, every day we are at site together we set aside one hour for each other and one hour for ourselves as an individual. Saturday is all ours...no projects, no unnecessary house work. We just talk, be with each other, cook, and we eat!
It's not as easy as we had expected but we are starting to meet our expectation of getting to know each other even more than before!