Throughout the past 2 years, I've experienced what is known as the "Peace Corps Emotional Roller Coaster". It essentially means a constant, and often extreme "up and down" experience of emotions. I have certainly ridden the good ol' roller coaster, some times more constant and extreme than others, but was a fairly active rider nonetheless. Now with 2 months left (wow, how time flies), I'm back on for another ride and experiencing all sorts of new things. I'm currently battling with the feelings of "I'm ready to GO!" with feelings of fear to leave my second home, leave a life and friends I've made here the past 2 years and leave a lifestyle that I've become accustomed to - all that is so very different from my life in America. Many say that I'll be fine, that I left almost 30 years of living in the USA and adapted to life here, so I'll adapt back. The only thing is, I'm a bit different now....I'm not exactly sure how yet, reflection takes time you know, but I just know I feel different. This is rather hard to explain in words. I don't know if I'll ever be able to explain it, but I've compiled a list of things I will and won't miss about Thailand with hopes of giving you an idea of what I'm leaving. It's an ever changing and growing list, but here is where it stands as of now :)
WILL MISS WON'T MISS
1. P'Dtang, P'Dtou and Grandpa 1. Sitting around all day/for hours just waiting.....
2. The veggies and fruit everywhere 2. The God-for-saken heat
3. Speaking Thai 3 . Speaking Thai
4. Biking through the rice fields in full bloom 4. Being called farang....even by people who know me
5. Going to the temple every week with neighbors to feed the monks
5. Greng jai - in Thai this means to be considerate but PCVs consider it lieing
6. Cheap food 6. The transportation system
7. The unique warmth of the people (meaning their warmth is different from let's say, Mediterranean or Latin American people, but they are still warm people)
8. Sticky rice
8. Importance of and constant discussion of physical appearance (mine, in particular)
9. Laughing with Thai people 9. Having to be home by dark
10. PCV friends
10. Having to be riap roy (appropriate) in all you do/say/wear when so much of what Thai's do is not riap roy (by American standards, at least). Example - in America, picking your nose is considered inappropriate and done in private (with a tissue, hopefully!), but here in the land of Thai, shove that finger right on up there wherever you are and whoever you're with....
11. Staying home on a week day, saying I'm working from home/tired/whatever and everybody just accepts
11. Having to be "on" all of the time.
12. Animals EVERYWHERE! 12. Motorcycle smoke in my face
13. Going to the market 100 meters away for fresh food
14. My bike and house 14. Kids dropping their pants and peeing EVERYWHERE
15. Not caring what I look like...ever 15. Being considered special solely because I'm white
16. Random, pleasurable trips to Tesco Lotus to remind me of America
16. Thai dairy products
17. Conversations with P'Bramote 17. Being judged as rich and bad because I'm American
18. Shoes off everywhere 18. Random power outages / bouts of no running water
19. Picking my feet wherever I am, because it's how we do here
19. The constant compliments-it makes me feel uncomfortable
20. Thai kids wai'ing
20. People at my government office talking about me while I'm in the room like I'm meaningless, especially since I understand them
21. Having the hairiest legs ever and the fact that it's expected of me because it makes me more Thai
21. People getting mad at you when you haven't visited them in a long time, even though they never came to visit you.
22. Making and eating lunch with P'Dtang, catching up and then napping....in the middle of the day.....because we can
22. Burning trash smoke
23. Hanging out with my neighbors
23. Getting chased by angry dogs who look like they are ready to kill
24. Going to the school and teaching kids that are so desperate to learn
24. Waking up with random bug bites all over your body, even though you use a mosquito net, every night
25. The kids over my house whenever they want, making me feel like a real part of the hood
25. The kids over my house whenever they want, driving me crazy!!!