Friday, October 21, 2011

This is an adventure.

I want to be really open and honest about my Peace Corps experience, because I think to outsiders it's often romanticized, and after you go home, the bad things kind of seem to fade away and you can only remember the good times, so I am going to try and do my best to document both the good and bad times. And please, if you read my posts, or any PCV's posts lend your support, a PCV can't ever have enough support.

We have now been officially at our site for just over two whole weeks! It is a strange feeling to go from having 20 people around you all the time for two months to having 60 people around you all the time for a week to having just your husband around you for the next two years.

We had a hard first week at site. Well, mostly had a hard couple of days there within the first week. It was hard for me because things weren't what I expected. All along they said have no expectations, I didn't really think I had any, but then they kind of led you to have some expectations of how things would go, with getting set up working at site. You get to site, go to school and start observing all of the English teachers, and then pick your co teachers from there. That's what I expected. That is not what happened. My school director picked my co-teachers for me, before I even got to site. This made me feel much discouraged in the beginning.

It has been slow going at the school. I still don't have my schedule figured out as the school director just changed all of the English teacher's schedules this week. I also haven't been able to observe one of my co-teaches yet, mostly because well, he hasn't showed up to class when we agreed, but I guess such is life in Cambodia. I'm slowly learning to be more flexible, which if I can achieve this, it would probably make coming out here all worth it, especially in Hal's eyes, as back home I was often very rigid with plan and time changes.

After struggling for a few days I made a list, benefits of going home and benefits of staying. As I wrote the last item on my to stay list I realized that I would never go home right now, that I'm supposed to be here. Making this decision made me feel a lot better. It doesn't make living in Cambodia a whole lot easier, but it makes me feel happier living here.

After that I started to look on the bright side. At least my school director picked some good teachers, who I'm excited to work with. Hal has been trying to involve me with his work at the Health Center, because even though I'm here as an English teacher, I am also very interested in the work of the midwives. We have a "soda pop lady", we found the "nom jake" the fried bananas, which are my favorite treat, one of my co-teachers has been SO sweet and has taken us out to dinner twice, we met her friends, and one lives across the street from us. I don't think she knows it yet, but she's going to be my friend too. It feels good to realize all of the amazing things about living in Cambodia.

As I told Hal last night. I hate missing out on things back home, especially my family, but back home I felt like I was missing out on an adventure. Hal told me that we need to make sure that this is an adventure then. Hopefully that will be our moto while living here, This is an adventure.


Kate! said...

I couldn't have written about the conflicting feelings better myself, though I have a draft in the works trying to. It's been a crazy, tiring, and weird two weeks, but I know that it is an adventure and dang it, it will be! You and Hal are supposed to be here, and as long as you're together, it will be an adventure. From one married to another, just know these feelings are NOT just you, and I'm so glad you're here!

Leah Mortenson said...


Hang in there! I think all of us PCVs are having a rough time right now. I try to keep telling myself that it just comes with the territory but sometimes it's harder than others to accept that. And "give it six months" seems like an eternity. But I think there will be a balance- the good will come to even out the bad. You are doing great! You will be a great teacher when you're settled, or at least, more comfortable than you are now, and there's no doubt in my mind your presence will make a huge difference. Take it a day at a time, a moment at a time. I totally empathize with all of this!

Love from Prey Veng,


Hannah {Culture Connoisseur} said...

Praying for you! It is never easy to adjust to a new place...I don't care who you are. But slowly, after your paradigm has been absolutely shattered it'll all start to feel like home!

Thanks for the update!

Scott & Traci said...

I'm sorry it has been hard! It seems like the first part is the worst though, things will always get better! We didn't move to a different country, but in some ways I feel like it ;) I hope things get better, and enjoy the journey! :)

Crazy Shenanigans-JMO said...

I'm sure there will be days that are hard but in the end it's going to be a great great adventure!!

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