Matt Mikrut, 130 YinD
Welcome to, what I like to call, the “Skyler Diary.” I admit it. Skyler is my first Peace Corps love. Everyone knows it; my love for Skyler is unrestrained and wild, thumping vigorously within me. Because I was kindly asked to write this “Skyler Diary” by Sticky Rice, I figured this would be a prime opportunity to express how I truly feel.
Diary Entry 1: December 29th, 2017
Today, I went on a wild, unhinged Facebook stalking spree. This one fella caught my eye, but for the worst of reasons. He went to the University of Iowa. They beat us (Boston College) yesterday at the Pinstripe Bowl. Oh well, I guess that’s one dude I can’t be friends with.
Diary Entry 2: January 4th, 2018
There he was; that damned Iowa kid. I talked to him, and immediately, I felt that BC-shame showering on me. Though, it made me feel better that he asked the entire group to raise their hands if they are from Iowa. I saw his spirit drop a little when no one raised their hands.
After our sessions and dinner, somehow the universe brought us together. There he was in a group of people, perched in a high stool with his arms crossed on the table. When I approached, he asked if I wanted a beer. From there, the rest was history. In a group, we chatted for hours. I can’t remember what we even talked about. I just remember the feeling. Feeling isolated and alone when getting to LA, I knew everything was going to be OK.
Diary Entry 3: January 7th, 2018
The man strutted the stage in jorts and serenaded everyone with Disney songs tonight. Not sure there is much else to say here…
Diary Entry 4: January 12th, 2018
Skyler opened my eyes about theater today. Theater is a medium to educate and stimulate change; he also created a theater company to boost people’s confidence. His passion is making me feel all tingly; if I could ever be as passionate about anything like he is about theater, I would be very lucky. His story inspires me.
Diary Entry 5: January 16th, 2018
Oh boy. Skyler and I are going to be neighbors; our host families are right next to each other! Am I the luckiest guy in the world, or what?
Diary Entry 6: January 20th, 2018
All I heard was screaming at 7 a.m. on this fine Saturday morning. When I had the chance to adjust my ears, I realized it was Skyler’s host mom brazenly pronouncing my name. She told me to be ready in 15 minutes. Sky and I then went on our first date today, and Skyler’s host mother and Aunt were the chaperones. Surrounded by all the craziness of Thailand, it was a relief to have another American with me. With his host mom throwing Pepsi at us to drink, taking us to a new place every 10 minutes, and speaking in her unmistakably large voice in a language we could barely understand, I’m so glad we went on this adventure together. I can never imagine doing all of this alone.
Diary Entry 7: February 15th, 2018
It’s been such a great time with Skyler the last couple weeks. I am so lucky we share the commute to language class and the Tesseban. I’ve been cherishing every one of our bike rides. Conversations are getting deep and authentic; we discuss culture, justice, love, and all types of other things. I know this relationship isn’t superficial because we are struggling with stuff and working to help each other grow. We are falling in love. I just know it.
Diary Entry 8: July 15th, 2018
I am so happy I’ve gotten to get some quality time with Skyler over Reconnect. After spending the day with our chaperones, Sky and I needed some alone time. We were in our Peace Corps polos, and we went out for a beer. Despite looking ridiculous, it didn’t matter; we were with each other and having a good time. Even though I had not seen him in months or talked to him that often, it felt right. Deep conversations continued. I just love him so much and am so lucky to have him.
Diary Entry 9: March 19th, 2019
I finally made it to his house. Wow, am I lucky! We talked about our lives back home. I very quickly realized our relationships with money, career, and family were fundamentally different. I grew up believing that success met a very rigid definition comprising a very restricted idea of money and career; growing up, that success took precedence over everything. When I came to Peace Corps, I realized I would judge people if they didn’t follow those same beliefs I held, but when I heard his story, the tingles hit me. Understanding his lifestyle and values of a broader definition of success and how his Iowa upbringing espouses that definition helped me think of what I want mine to be; just being who he is has helped me grow. I’m so grateful.
Diary Entry 10: Today
Wow. I really have the tingles writing this. He just makes me feel so damn special. Oh man… gosh, I feel awful though! I hate to admit that Skyler is not the only one in my life. I’ve fallen in love with multiple people. I can’t help it. The other volunteers are just so authentic and thought-provoking. In the world of the insane, volunteers have been there; they have helped me grow and become better. I am so grateful and lucky for all the Peace Corps love.
Matt’s story is part of a series about “Finding Love in the Peace Corps.” Check out previous articles in this collection.