there won’t be any photos yet, so don’t get your hopes up 😛
I made it.
i have arrived and even though i’m right down the road from the beach (and indian ocean!) it feels like im in a jungle with all the trees and humidity.
my arrival was good. i arrived late and my cab driver was very nice, though he did pull off on the side of the road once to drench himself with water as he was falling asleep , haha. he fell asleep a few more times on the ride to my hotel, despite me trying to keep conversation flowing so he’d stay awake.
this was after my arrival at the airport where, after bending down to fix my pant leg, a guy at a transportation booth asked me to bend over again. haha – they weren’t joking about men being forward to western women here. i declined and went on my way to meet the sleepy driver.
my host family is very nice. it’s an adjustment, learning to live in a community that is very much about being all up in everyone’s business. for example, the host mother very sweetly asked “have you had fat since childhood?” and “i’m a little fat. it’s better to be very skinny though. maybe you lose weight while you’re here.”
after the awkwardness, which i brushed off i asked if she read twilight and held up the book (it’s the only non tour-guide book i brought with me!) she said no then politely said she would read it.
other than that, there’s not much to report. my face is permanently red and i wonder if i’ll come back and always been this tomato-faced.
i’m thinking about buying a bicycle. it seems safer than riding the bus and most things I need (internet cafe, postal service, and bank) are easy to get to and would be faster by bike. my placement begins monday, and im anxious as well as excited.
i think im going through culture shock at everything around me. i guess in my head i knew i was going to a developing country but i don’t think i realized the full extent of what that meant until i arrived.
while my host family’s home is rather large (it’s about double the size of the house in san francisco plus large front yard, and backyard), many homes in colombo and the areas just outside of the main city are worn down and devestated.
also, i am fortunately living with a host family that has electricity; however no internet connect. i am unsure if there is internet available at my teaching placement.
at the bangkok airport i was sitting across from a woman waiting for our gate to open and i struck up conversation. i’m becoming a regular extrovert 😛
the woman, her name Mala was super sweet and we talked for over an hour. She lives in New Zealand but was going to Colombo to visit family for the holidays. her daughters (one studying law the other studying economics) are both obsessed with Twilight and wound up dragging their mom to a theater in Thailand to go see new moon last month, while traveling. They are both in love with Robert Pattinson and I went all fangirl on her and giggled when I told her, her daughters weren’t the only ones that wanted to marry him.
after that i asked her about safety concerns, of which she said it was mostly at night and on buses/trains. so that’s another upside to getting a bicycle. and really, after seeing the city as i did the night of my arrival, i have NO desire to be out after dark.
i’ve spent my first night under a mosquito net and really, it was okay. The host family provided me with one and it was already hanging above my bed before my arrival – so all that stress over it was unnecessary.
it’s definitely an adjustment. last night during dinner a random salamander/lizard (i have no idea wtf the difference is) just started crawling on the wall in the dining room beside the table. i thought that was kind of cool.
however, it did freak me out that i had to shower with ants that were as long as my pinkie (from nail to first digit) and spiders – daddy longlegs are everywhere – i assume to eat other bugs.
and they weren’t kidding about not needing hot water. the cold shower felt amazing even though it was probably the quickest one in my life (due to the ant/insects that will require getting used to).
we (the volunteers) may get a few days off for the holidays. if we do, I’d like to go south and take surfing lessons in Hikkauda (spelling?) for a few days.