Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Adjusting to Back at Site

It's been almost a month since I've been back at site after having dengue, so I thought I'd do a little update about adjusting to life back at site.

Honestly, it was a really hard transition. By the time I was done traveling back to site I was exhausted. Like more exhausted than I've ever felt in my life. I couldn't go to school. I couldn't do anything except lay in bed, nap, and maybe read a book. I don't think I left my room for 2 days. I had been in AC almost constantly for 2 weeks and in that time Cambodia had gotten so much hotter. I had the fan on constantly and felt like I was going to melt away.

My first day back at site one of my co-teachers came to visit me. I teach my private class at her private school. She told me I got dengue because I don't eat enough meat. Right. Then she told me that I should relax at home, and that they found a new teacher for my class. I tried to tell her I could come back. She told me no. I cried for the rest of the day. Honestly, if we hadn't already had this vacation planned I might have ETed at that moment. I remember a COSing volunteer in Thailand told me, "don't make any decisions about your service when you're having a really bad day". I'm glad I didn't ET in that moment. It was just all so overwhelming and emotional for me.

I finally had the energy to show up to teach one class. I didn't even end up teaching. My co-teacher wanted to talk with me and my school director told me I shouldn't be at school, because I just got better and needed to relax. I'm actually glad he told me that, because I really did need to relax, and I think I would have pushed myself otherwise and made my recovery slower. Well, the next week school stopped anyway in preparation for 12th grade testing and Khmer New Year.

I was finally feeling some energy, and had gotten approval for a project, so I went to the school to see my director. It was during testing so most of the teachers were hanging around. I'm glad we ended up going. We got invited to a lot of stuff that day. It finally made me feel apart of the community again after feeling so despondent. My co-teacher asked me to come back to teach my class when school starts up again after Khmer New Year. She's helping me set up my Girls Club also. She even took me to get traditional Khmer wedding clothes made for a family wedding this weekend.

Obviously my adjustment back to site after more than 2 weeks away was really difficult. Everyone seemed to think I was still sick, and I guess I was, but I didn't want them to think that. They've been really nice and helpful though. My host mother has served me chicken more in the last month than all of the previous ones combined. She lights mosquito coils next to me while I eat dinner, and puts the fan on me to blow the mosquitoes away when we relax in the living room. I've had so many people in our community ask me how I'm feeling, and if I'm still sick. It's so nice to see that the Khmer people care about you.

I'm so glad that I didn't make any rash decisions in those first few horrible days. As I've gotten my energy back I've felt a renewed motivation, and I think it's rubbed off on Hal also. I've been able to find projects to work on from home to keep me busy. Hopefully things will really get rolling as soon as we get back from Scotland. I have a good feeling!

4 comments:

Crazy Shenanigans-JMO said...

I'm so happy to hear that you're starting to feel better and back to your old self. I can't even imagine going through all of that and in a foreign place! Have a wonderful time in Scotland!

Leah said...

Hey Sam,

I definitely empathize with it being hard to adjust to life back at site after being away for a while... I am glad you're getting better and that your community has shown how much they care about you and how much your presence means to them! Have a great time in Scotland- you deserve it!

XO - Leah

Krysten @ Why Girls Are Weird said...

My goodness, I can just imagine that it would be hard to adjust! I am happy that you're feeling better!

Kell said...

I really hope you're feeling back to normal as soon as possible and you can get back to teaching! Enjoy Scotland!!

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