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Perpetual Wonder

Watching this little guy seriously keeps me going.

He has so much boundless energy and seems to be interested in everything. I can hardly get a moment sitting down when I’m around him.

Sometimes I wonder about myself and how I stay motivated.

What stimulates wonder and excitement in me now?

I’ll tell you for starters that these past few days have definitely been interesting … Moving in to site has not quite been the gentle breeze I was expecting.

My experience has been a little bit different from others, but I think it’s worth sharing.

My first month at site was spent at my co-teacher’s house where I shared a bed with his grown brother-in-law. Not that I’m complaining at all … it is seriously a beautiful place to be and his family is the cutest in the world, but it was not what I had initially expected. The reason I was there was because straight out the barrel of the gun we had an English Camp in motion for the month of March as well as home visits to conduct with some meetings sprinkled here and there throughout. Overall, a busy time for me despite pretty much just arriving.

When I finally did get moved in with my host family in Manang, Sports Days for the District came through as well as some very strong-willed, friendly individuals in my community who were not quite so familiar with the American need for personal space. It was a great and fun and amazing time, albeit I must admit, rather tiring. Nice thing though was that I did have my own room and it reminded me a lot of being back home in America since this family also had a lot of kids. My host mother and host father are some of the kindest people I know. They kept me well fed and clean. Nevertheless, once I had established for myself some remnants of a daily routine, I was moved again. This time my Pawaw took me in. My host family was going out of town for a week to visit relatives in Chaiyaphum. So I packed up a bag to last me a few days at most and headed out.

Little did I know that I would be living out of this same bag for the next month …

I had a good time spending Songkran at my Pawaw’s place. His whole extended family from Narathiwat came to visit and boy, were they a wild bunch. We pretty much ate, drank, karaoke’d, and partied all night and day while they were there.

Since the whole house was full of people, my Pawaw and I spent the nights sleeping in tents outside in the front “yard” of his house. It was interesting to spend time with a Buddhist family after having been immersed in Muslim life and culture with both my co-teacher’s family as well as my host family. I got to visit the nearby wat and pay respects to his family burial “shrine” as well as the monks and pour water on the large golden Buddha the first day of Songkran.

Next, I got moved back with my co-teacher for a bit since we had our American Corner’s Embassy Camp coming up and I needed a bit of time in the main city to plan and prepare with the other volunteers from my group in the area. We had a super successful camp and spent three days at the Satun Boutique Resort which was wonderful. Hot water and air-conditioning have become real things of beauty. Then it was back in with my co-teacher to get ready for a five day English Camp the SPESAO had planned. I made one weekend visit to Trang for our Peace Corps Consolidation Drill and another to Krabi to see a good friend that was passing through.

After the SPESAO five day camp, me and two other volunteers that taught made our way to the absolutely gorgeous island of Lipe for Maycation. Twas heaven on earth for a few days.

Back to site, I spent a day or two with my co-teacher peeking into my new place at the school teacher housing and buying a few things in preparation for move in. Pretty much everything I had in my host family’s place got transferred in prior to my arrival. Only problem was that the place was (and sort of still is) a construction site. First day living there, I was down on my hands and knees for hours scrubbing the dirt and paint out of the floors and up drawing water for mopping. There was no water coming in through the one water spigot I had in the house for some reason, so I was climbing a huge earthen jar in the backyard to pull out rain water with a bucket. This was basically the process for everything – including shower time. I had to transfer water from this big jar (which definitely contained more than just rainwater) to a large trashcan sized bucket, drag it into my bathroom, and use a little scooper to take my little bath. You should try it sometime.

The toilet by the way is basically a squatter literally under the steps. It’s like I’m sitting in Harry Potter’s closet whenever I have to use the rest room.

The process of finding food and supplies has been slow but steady. I haven’t been here in Manang for a month so I definitely have some catching up to do. Fortunately the village is pretty small and people are friendly. A neighbor came over last night and brought me some ramen he made with eggs and rice and his wife gave me a green mango that I still haven’t eaten. I have almost no supplies or appliances so today I ate curry rice and chicken from a stall I passed this morning and have been snacking on bread, honey, cola gummies, and hot cheetos. At the least I have a small water heater that I’ll try and use to make myself some ramen tonight. So healthy. Super stoked.

Loving the independence that I have at the moment. For sure what I have been missing most. Maybe I’ll even go all out and try to watch a movie on my laptop tonight. Who knows?

The whole world is my oyster right now.

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