It's 3:55Pm on a Wednesday afternoon. I'm home today because I decided not to attend the afternoon session on PACA since I felt sick. I just woke up from a very sweaty, hot 3 hour midday nap and I feel so much better. I'm just grateful that whatever I have is nothing compared to what I could be sick with and what I've seen others sick with. I'm sitting in my mosquito net with the fan blowing down on me. My window is open and the smell of burning plastic from the trash piles wafts in. Roosters are crowing for no obvious reason and the drone of monks has been going on in the distance for the past few hours. My host parents just came in. They're very worried. They have their own beliefs about why I'm sick and they really really want me to take a warm bath which actually sounds good because the cold water makes my muscles ache. Usually, I embrace the coldness, a welcome relief from the daily heat and humidity.They handed me a plate of apple slices and it is the best thing my mouth has tasted all day. My upset stomach is rejoicing to finally eat something that seems clean and pure and relatively easy to digest.
On Saturday we're all finding out where our permanent sites are going to be and the next day we'll be traveling there. This is a huge moment. During training there are, to me, three big moments (three that are scheduled anyway). The first is going to your permanent site to visit. This is where I'll be living and working for 2 years for better or worse. The next is the LPI, which is the language proficiency interview. If you pass your golden, at least to continue your studies at your permanent site. If you don't, then you need to study harder. The third and final event of training is swear in. During trained we're all PCTs, Peace Corp trainees. After swear in we're all PCVs, Peace Corps Volunteers. At this point I think a lot of people are just looking to swear in. We can make it through this one day at a time until swear in. I'm keeping this in mind, but at the same time I like to keep my goal as surviving the two years and thriving. My philospohy has always been to aim as high as possible, but to keep a realistic mindset. With the MCAT, I always said that my goal was a perfect score, knowing that I had a less than likely chance of scoring anywhere in that range. But having a lofty goal means that the goal is not my limiting factor. I want to make through these next two years happy and healthy. It might not be like that and when things happen I have to let them happen, but I'm not going to start by believing anything less. Seeing the other PCVs and seeing the other PCTs that have been through so much shit already and are still here makes me believe that actually this goal is completely realistic, it's just more long term than most people like to plan. Even thinking about the people who chose to leave doesn't really change this mindset. They made the decision that was right for them and if the time comes for me to make that choice then I won't hold myself to a rigid goal. I'll just make new goals to look forward to.
On a more humorous note, the cat tried to get into the shower with me yesterday and it was persistent. Throughout my shower I would just hear these thumps against the door and when I tried to leave it blocked the door. Sometimes I think about giving it a shower because it probably needs one, but it'll probably freak out and give me some nasty wounds.
So...I am going to Siem Reap. I know some people reading this just got really excited. For those of you that don't know, Siem Reap is a huge tourist province and it is home to Angkor Wat. Briefly, Angkor Wat is an ancient complex of Hindu temples that stretches for miles. It's beauty is unrivaled and millions of people come to visit each year. Angkor Wat is about an hour from my village. I don't know what my home or family will be like but I'll find out on Monday. Tomorrow, I'm getting on a bus to Siem Reap and there I'll be picked up by my new family. I'll only stay for a few days and go back to training. Today was definitely a rollercoaster of emotions and when I go back to my training village I really don't know what I'll say to my host family. I've grown so close to them and I've gotten used to my house and my town. It'll be a huge transition to get used to a new family, a new town, a new province, a new language (they speak a different dialect), and at the same time try to make my own way and do the work I was sent there to do. In a month, I will pretty much be on my own, by myself, and that scares the shit out of me.
-Thanks to Justin for fact checking and Che for grammar. and Saeed for letting me borrow his comp. Yes, they are reading over my shoulder...