One crazy thing about living where we do is that the fight against nature is constant.
In fact, I don’t think you’ve had the full Peace Corps experience if you don’t battle a wild creature of some sorts at least once a day. Literally just got back from trying to kill a swarm full of red ants at my door step with a mostly empty can of bug spray. They are seriously trying to take over. A fellow volunteer in my area swears that they come back for revenge and I am very much inclined to believe her. My door mat and shoes were covered with the annoying little things. There were also a bunch of bigger black ones sprinkled in the mix as well. Please take your colony somewhere else. I’m tired of having to kill ya’ll. Every morning I have to sweep and wipe up even the slightest hint of food from off my floors. Any snacks I have have to be completely sealed, and even those get hit sometimes too. My plastic closable honey container sits precariously from my bike seat since that’s the only place where it seems they won’t go to try and desperately climb the thing in an attempt to get at the golden, sticky substance inside. Hopefully that fortress holds.
I’ve also got a drain rat that comes up at night on occasion and digs through my plastic bag of a trashcan that hangs from a nail on my wall. Cockroaches are also still a thing. I had hoped that maybe I’d seen the last of them in Memphis, but they grow big and wild here as well. So much better about them than I used to be though. Little house geckos are a staple of every Thai home. They wouldn’t be so bad if they didn’t poop so much. Just a bit of a pain to have to clean up all the time. Spiders of all kinds show up at times as well as the occasional frog, scorpion, wasp, cat, cricket, duck, and chicken. Have yet to have a snake come into the house. Small worms sometimes show up in the water as well so I have to be careful when I’m washing. Oh yeah, and of course we have mosquitos. What’s Southeast Asia without mosquitos? Not Southeast Asia, I can tell you that much. Did you know that mosquito eggs can lay dormant for up to 15 years and still hatch when conditions are right (aka when it is warm and rainy)? Fun fact. Mold is also a problem. Spent all of last Saturday morning taking everything out of my cabinet, scrubbing down every inch, nook and cranny of it with soap and water, and reorganizing all my things inside because of it. Makes for good exercise having to keep up with all that regular cleaning around the house.
On top of it all, the heat and humidity makes you sweat like nobody’s business, rain comes down in torrents unexpectedly, and running water is oftentimes muddy and unreliable. Still, it’s home. And I probably wouldn’t have it any other way. The struggles and small inconveniences of everyday life have made me a better person I think and I am grateful for all that nature has taught me about my own human nature. About daily maintenance and the importance of not only making do with what you have, but about being happy with what you have when you have it. Nothing is owed to us. We are here to learn and contribute, all of us. So make the most of it. Don’t waste even a minute of it whining or complaining. Believe in your ability to overcome any challenge. Work a little bit every day to map out the uncharted territories of your inner self so as to find a proper course by which to view the world around. Do not settle for less than what you know you are capable of. Contend with nature and never give up. There is always a way to win.