So yes, every time I meet a new person in my community, we have the conversation about my size. We talk about why I’m brown. They ask if I’m really American, and then ask someone else just to double check. But now, I know I don’t have to wait long before someone who knows me chimes in “she’s strong, and smart, and funny”. There is no better feeling in the world than being known well enough to let someone else defend me in a battle I’m tired of fighting.
This piece was originally written for Peace Corps Thailand Sticky Rice Magazine. Here it is for my own memory and to serve as a reminder of how very far from rock bottom I am now. Enjoy! I biked over one Sunday afternoon and found yaai (my host grandmother) alone in her usual spot. Just outside…
During Pre-Service Training (PST) Peace Corps gave us all a chart. This chart: I took one look and said “NAH”. Because I’m a narcissist with an innate need to be different (AKA human)….I had determined I would not be allowing a generic chart to tell me how I was going to feel about this experience….
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Maybe I’ll wish I had this time back. Maybe I’ll wish for a do-over. Maybe I’ll wish I had stayed in closer proximity to the people I love and care about. Then again…maybe I won’t.
Green giving way to burnt orange and deep red. Nature turning to golden brown hues. Breathing crisp air, skin tickled by cool breezes. The crackle of freshly fallen leaves breaking apart underneath boots. Tucking my nose into the folds of a hand-knitted infinity scarf while dashing from the nip in the air into warm spaces….
There are two school breaks in Thailand, called bpit terms. One is in mid-October, which I compare to the equivalent of a spring break in the States, and lasts 2-3 weeks. Mid-March through mid-May is the longer summer break. For this bpit term, I went on a adventure with some friends (2 other PCVs and…
Words are a large part of who I am, who we are; the creation and manipulation of them is one critical way we connect and feel understood. To be stripped of them is introducing me to a new realm of vulnerability.
But then…a tiny face with a toothy smile will grin at me. Or my host mom will tell me I’m like the daughter she never had. Or a quiet kid will speak a full sentence to me. Or my awesome counterpart will drive out of his way in the middle of the week so I can play volleyball with adults. Or the student volleyball team will triple check that I’m coming to their practice. Or the neighbor who runs a nearby noodle stand will give me a hug at the market. There are a million and one amazing little moments that continue to outweigh the moments of homesickness, and for that, I’ll continue to be grateful.