Be Flexible.. they say. Does that mean.. Be okay when your classes get cancelled and no one tells you? Probably. Be okay when class consistently starts 20-30 minutes late so you have barely enough time to get the information out? Sure. Does it mean all the hours you’ve put into lesson planning and making materials can be blown off by any teacher who decides they’d rather do paperwork or prepare for some random meeting than have a class today? Totally.
Be culturally appropriate.. they say. Does that mean.. wear long sleeves and long skirts when it’s 90 degrees out with 80% humidity and even just a 2 minute walk to school means all your makeup is dripping off? Yes. That’s what that means. Does that mean.. eat bowl after bowl of rice and gain back all the weight you worked so hard to get rid of by eliminating carbs? Oh yeah. Definitely what that means.
Be patient.. they say. Does that mean.. when your laundry goes missing/or your food gets eaten.. and you find out it’s your 90 year old host grandma that’s responsible, that you just smile and keep your mouth shut? Yup. Does that mean… even though you made it clear since March that you wanted to move into your own place that everyone won’t believe you and will make you wait until the middle of June because they want you to stay with them.. and you just have to continue to laugh it off until you finally get to move? Definitely.
Be frugal… they say. Does that mean.. living with as little as you need because if you don’t take that trip into town to see your friends you’re going to go crazy? Yes. Does that mean.. sometimes you’ll have to just eat lunch at school that day because you needed that extra money to buy supplies for your students. Sometimes. The truth is you have nothing in your kitchen, not even a sink or a counter, and you can’t afford a fridge because you need that money to travel. Because if you don’t make the time to get away you will go crazy sitting at home, alone. So you survive off of peanut butter and you struggle through, but you make it work.
Do I think about going back to America and getting my old job back and actually making money, eating what I want, doing what I want? Hell yeah. All the time. Almost daily. I find myself wondering “What’s keeping me here?” Am I in a funk? Possibly. Will it pass? Definitely. But that’s not to dismiss the fact that.. this shit is hard.
Will I grow as a person through my struggles? God, I hope so. But right now I just need to admit to myself that it’s hard. And it’s okay to feel like you’re failing at everything and no one cares about your time.
It’s okay to not be okay.
Here’s to hoping it all gets better.