Saturday, May 16, 2009

My worst day in Thailand

Yesterday was my worst day in Thailand to date.

It began with a decision to just lay low, as I managed to tweak my back a couple days before and it kinda hurts when I take a deep breath.
My counterpart did not like that, however, and insisted that I come to his house to practice Muay Thai (Thai Boxing) with his relative who was a trainer who was visiting. I DID want to meet the man and learn a little something, but I had trouble conveying the nature of my pain. I figured I might be OK to learn some basics, but I began to get concerned when they said we had to go pick up some pads and training gear. This was sounding far more rigorous than anything I had wanted.
Also (I'm going out of order here, because I want to list the things that made it a bad day before I get to the punchline), between talking with my counterpart and actually going over, I found out what's up with the cats who keep going in and out of my house when I looked under the desk in the room I don't spend any time in. There are a couple of kittens living there, and the parents are presumably taking care of them. I also found two (very) dead kittens in another corner of the room, which explained the bad smell in my house and the recent increase in the fly population. Disposing of the dead kittens was very unpleasant (did I mention that they were VERY dead? I won't go into details, but I had to fight the gag reflex), but now I am left with the question of WHAT to do with the live ones. I do NOT want to take care of them, and I am not comfortable simply dumping them outside. I think I'll try to show them to my neighbors and see if any of them can do something with them. It really wouldn't bother me if someone ate them, I just don't want to see them go to waste.

Anyway, after I got rid of the dead cats and I was rushing over to practice Muay Thai, worrying about my back, I realized, "Wow. This is probably my worst day in Thailand so far." And I was kinda pissed off. I was mad at the cats who had had kittens in my house and had broken my jar of sugar, I was mad that I was in pain, and I was upset that I wasn't going to be able to take advantage of this opportunity to learn a cool new sport.

But then a motorcycle with a family of four passed me, smiling and waving and saying hello. And then another one did (only with three people). And I smiled. I remembered that, "Holy crap! I'm in the Peace Corps! I'm in Thailand!" I remembered that this is probably the most amazing thing I have ever done, and that all the things that had me in a bad mood were really pretty trivial. Maybe I will have worse days in the future. Maybe I won't. Maybe I will THINK I am having worse days, and I hope I will be able to remember how lucky I really am.

When it came time to do it, I decided to just go ahead and try the boxing. And it didn't hurt. Don't get me wrong, whatever I did still hurts, but it wasn't really a problem for the punching, kicking, knees and elbows, and I am very happy that I was able to take advantage of this opportunity to get some one-on-one instruction. Better watch out, I'm gonna be dangerous!

A while back, we put together a bio book for the PCTH121 (Peace Corps Thailand Group 121) with photos and a bit of information about all of us, and I want to quote my friend Dan. There was a section for us to list our "Experience" (resume style was the intention). He said "Many good, some bad, all of value."


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