I’m in a much better place than I was during my last blog post so thank you to all who helped support me through my first low point of this crazy adventure. Perhaps I was just naive, but I did not really anticipate the emotional roller coaster that the Peace Corps would take me on. I was so concerned with things like what to pack, the heat and the rain, eating rice three times a day, or my ability to use a squat toilet that I didn’t think about some of the more important issues. Issues such as how isolated you can feel even when surrounded by people, how frustrating not being able to communicate your needs, feelings, or even your gratitude can truly be, and how hard it is for me to just live in the moment and not worry/anticipate/think about the future.
Anyway…my point…oh yeah! Things are better this week! I was really busy and had a lot of fun this week. For two days this week we went to a school and ran git-ja-goms (activities) for the dek-dek (kids) in the afternoon. My group was the decision making and teamwork group, so all of our activities were fun, but also helped teach the kids about making decisions and helping each other out. My group was twelve fifth graders and they were a lot of fun and had a ton of energy. We attempted to use the little Thai that we know, but we also had one of our ajaans (teachers) translate for us. I’m sure we got some pictures from the actual activities, but I haven’t located them yet so you all just get to use your imagination for now.
It was really good practice for me. As some of you may know children sort of scare the crap out of me. I’m sure you are thinking “uhhh Meg isn’t your entire job over there to work with youth?!?” Well yes it is. I have worked with youth before, but it has always been one on one. Having twelve sets of eyes on me as I attempt to lead an activity is a whole new ballgame for me, which is part of the reason I am frightened/stoked about it. I usually pick my next challenge by figuring out what scares me the most and then doing that..so the Peace Corps says how about Youth Development and I say sign me up! Super brave or glutton for punishment, I am definitely one of those lol.
So I survived the fifth graders! My next hurdle for the week was my first language proficiency test. This caused quite a bit of anxiety for all the volunteers, as the instructions were something like take your four weeks of language instruction, go have a fifteen minute conversation in Thai with your tester, no speaking English whatsoever, and we are going to tape the conversation as well…good luck. In order to swear in as an official Peace Corps Volunteer in March I have to get an “intermediate-low” rating on my language. We got the results of our test on Friday and to my surprise I already managed to get an “intermediate-low” score! This made me super happy since it takes a bit of the pressure off on whether I will be able to pass this test at the end of training, but it was also frightening to think that they could send me out to site with this ability in language and I don’t feel like I know very much lol. So my goal for the next month is to expand my vocab and try to get intermediate-mid or intermediate-high rating before I am on my own at site.
We ended the week yesterday with a sports day which was a ton of fun! I might not have been able to rock the Thai dancing last week, but sports I can do! It felt great to get out and sweat a bit (or a ton) and learn new Thai sports. We played Dta-Kraw which is like a hybrid of soccer and volleyball, Chair-bon which is like a hybrid of ultimate frisbee and basketball, and Pay-Tong which is essentially Bocce Ball. My team freaking rocked it! We also managed to win the cheer competition which consisted of one Thai cheer and one English cheer.
So now it is Sunday and I am relaxing on my one day off. A bunch of my friends were going to come over to study, however a few of them texted me from the car saying they got Thai-napped and were not sure where they were going or when they would be back lol…life in Thailand is always exciting and always confusing!