Did you know that the Thai word for "orgasm" is the same as (one of) the word(s) for "awesome?" Now I understand why my girlfriend used to say "Orgasm!" when something cool happened. And really, it makes perfect sense. Can you name something more awesome than an orgasm?
Anyhow, that seemed like a better opening than another stupid apology for tardiness in blog posts. Without re-reading all of my blogging to this point in time, I feel like my entries have evolved from descriptions of what I'm doing (though those are still included when cool things go down), and shifted more towards my thoughts, impressions and epiphanies. And I just had me one of them epipha-thingies.
The thing that is so cool and bad-ass about the Peace Corps, at least for this volunteer, is the two year commitment. It would be very difficult to put myself into the circumstances I find myself in any other way, with a reasonable amount of language and cultural instruction, followed by a work placement in a cool rural community. And I get to do this for two years. After about 6 months, I was feeling like, "yeah, I've seen it all." Nothing was making me say, "Oh my goodness! I can't believe things like this are happening!" And that feeling has simply continued to grow. I think that realization became most apparent to me after my family's recent visit (Hey family! Thanks for coming! It was great to see you!). I kept thinking, "Yeah, this is probably cool for them, but it all seems so typical to me," which led to me always wondering if I was doing my part as a host (I'm sure the fam will say "Of course you did, Eli!" but I still have to wonder).
And anyway, my new epiphanimity is that this sense of jaded-ness is actually an amazing thing. If I were only here for 6 months, I never would have got past that, "Holy crap! I'm in Thailand! Everything is so amazing!" state of mind, and yeah, I would have had an awesome time and gone home and told everyone about how cool it was to be a volunteer in Thailand for 6 months, but...
Here I am now at a little over a year in, with about another year (of Peace Corps service, already thinking about possibly staying beyond that) to go, and I'm well past that, "Holy crap!" phase. I feel like I can view things from a fairly Thai point of view, my communication skills continue to improve, I have established myself as some sort of member of the community, and I get to do all of this for a substantial amount of time still.
And that's why Peace Corps is cool.
And now I'll wish everyone a happy Songkran (remember that crazy water-fight New Year's party I talked about last year?) and let you all know that I will be shaving my head an eyebrows and donning orange robes for a few weeks shortly as I become a monk (something pretty much all young men do for a brief period sometime in their 20s). It'll be like that Bar Mitzvah I never had. I'm even learning to chant in a dead language!