This week was good in many ways. I found that I actually kind of know some stuff about computers and that my university education may not have been a waste afterall.
I set up the internet connection (granted it’s only dialup :P) for the IT Centre (ooo look we’re all british now with the ‘re’ instead of ‘er’ haha), and my host mom went americana and made me mac n’ cheese thursday night for dinner (collective “awwww”).
The not so great might be that i’m kind of sick. My temperature keeps going from 96.0 up to 101 and back. it’s a see-saw. i’ll keep it monitored but other than that just general somtach issues that I expected to face, have finally started to happen.
Also, I was in a situation where I had to decide whether to shower with a cocroach the length of my middle finger, or wake up at 5am and shower then.
it’s suprising how long it took me to decide.
Also, i’ve been trying to ignore the crude behavior and harassment of some of the local men. i get that their view of western women is a bit skewed because of TV and the media, but just because I say “hi” and answer you when you ask me what my name was, does NOT translate into “hi i’m an american that wants to hop into bed with you.”
at least the last time i checked, those things didn’t mean that.
so i try and stay under the radar. i don’t talk to men when i’m alone in public, and i never stay out past sunset. i’m trying to take precautions to stay safe and probably even being a bit excessive. but i’d rather be overly cautious here, in a country where I know no one and don’t speak the language.
speaking of being cautious – people here don’t believe that pedestrians have the right of way; this is why i almost got run over today by someone on a moped and then laughed at by 2 sets of tuk tuk drivers who made sexually explicit comments before saying “be safer sweetie”.
one of the volunteers that has gone home has e-mailed me and i asked her for photos, since her and i traveled to hikkduwa and kandy together before she left and we worked at the IT centre together for over a week. I can’t wait to get some of those photos up 🙂
This week I also extended my visa. Tip for those of you Americans eager to stay more than 1 month: be prepared to pay the highest visa extension fees of any country: 100USD.
But now it’s settled and my visa was extended to March 17th… which is just about the time I’ll be entering Cambodia, but yanno whatevs 🙂
I like it here. I’ve tried to take it in and ignore the cultural misconceptions that have led to the only true negativity I have felt being here, so far. I’ve adjusted to the heat (adjusted, not to be confused with “now enjoy”); I’ve grown accustomed to showering with rows of big red ants and spiders (and even getting ill beside them). I’ve found the kindness in the females here who offer smiles and a shy “hello” in return when I say it after seeing them smile.
I’ve even grown used to 3rd degree interrogations about where I come from, western ideas (like divorce and ‘dating’ just to date).
I’ve also seen devestation. I’ve learned that while anywhere else in the world, property on the beach is $$$$$, here it is only the impoverish that choose to live along the indian ocean.
There are things, so much bigger than me in this world. The idea that a 19 year old doesn’t know how to right click, or that a 29 year old has never used the internet and doesn’t know what e-mail is.
And that’s just at my job.
The train from Colombo to Panadura (where I then take a 1 hour bus ride back to Wadduwa) is right along the water. And you see the poverty. The half covered homes, the laundry being done a few feet from where the trains zoom past, the looks on the faces in awe as the kids see the trains going by as if its the first time they’re seeing it and not a regular occurence.
And beyond them. Beyond the dilapadated homes and one room houses, you see the indian ocean and it looks the same as any other ocean i’ve seen. It’s vast and seems to fall of the face of the earth. but this is the ocean that cased the devestation. that made people hesitant to house themselves right on the beachfront.
and in a place where minimum wage is estimated to be 35USD a month, you have to admire these people, so full of life and optimism.
You have to reflect and wonder that, if something like this had happened in your area, with the kind of economic setbacks this country has… would you be as outwardly happy? would you be as resiliant?
honestly, i don’t think i would be.
and inner reflection begins.