07 September 2011

Let this be a warning to you all...

This blog post is here to serve as a warning to all PCVs – current and future – against the perils of giardia. I wish that I could say that ‘giardia’ is actually the name of my seductive and uber-talented Italian spy alter ego (can you tell that I’ve been watching far too much Chuck in my free time lately?), alas, that is definitely not the case. It is actually a heinous little shit of a parasite that one acquires through tainted water, usually infected by sheep (damn those stupid koy!). The little bugger (no pun intended) then creates itself a home in one’s small intestines. The ensuing results are: painfully, uncontrollable shivers, extreme loss of appetite (mostly ‘cause you can’t bear to stomach anything anyway), and setting up base camp in your nearest lavatory facility because you’re basically exploding from both ends. Graphic, yes, but I only speak the truth. All-in-all, a SUPER unpleasant experience. But you know what really makes the whole shebang all the more entertaining? Dealing with this your first week of school where their only toilet facilities are wooden boxes covering holes in the ground (granted, that’s also my situation at home, but with a rusty old frame from a bus instead of a wooden box). Oh, that and also fainting into a small – but shallow! – irrigation ditch post-bathroom trip. Yeah, I like to keep things pretty class in the K. Moral of this story is: if you’ve not been drinking it since you were a wee one, ONLY DRINK WATER FROM YOUR WATER FILTER.

First week of school – since we started last Thursday – is officially at an end. However, because of my bout with giardia, I haven’t really gotten a feel for things yet. I keep telling myself that things’ll fall into place; I’ll get the hang of things once I’m there for longer than a week. But right now, I’m just really scared. Scared that I’m not going to be a good teacher; that I’ll get far too frustrated with not being able to actually teach anything or get bored with the repetition (seriously, teacher friends, HOW DO YOU DO IT?!). I’m also scared that I’ve discovered that as much as I like hanging with younger kids, that I actually like the act of learning more than I do teaching… Which frustrates me since I can’t follow up on that feeling (we’ll get to that momentarily) – I’m here for two years to teach and to come up with secondary projects related to the aforementioned topic. Everyone has moments like these their first week, right? I wish that I could have some magic moment during teaching when I get bitch slapped by life and think ‘Oh yeah, this is what I’m supposed to be doing!’

As I alluded to before, I am fairly certain I’ve figured out what I want to do after my two years of service is up. I know, I know, this is NOT the time to be thinking about this, I still have 21 months to go! But, I think it’s nice to have the comfort of knowing (or at least thinking I do) what I’m going to do after, so that when the time goes, I’m not scrambling and throwing myself into the deep end without a nice pair of Winnie the Pooh arm bands (and yes, that most definitely was a shout-out to all of those beautiful people who were with me taking our little Jambiani tykes swimming in Stone Town). So, anyway, enough of the babble. The point of the matter is that I think I want to head to grad school. In fact, I’ve even gone so far as to find two programs – remember, I’m just starting the search – that I’m already in love with. One is actually just a school, the SOAS (School of Oriental and African Studies) in London, where I really don’t think I could go wrong picking a degree, the problem would be narrowing it down to either Middle Eastern studies or to African. But, the school is a brilliant one and I’d be satiating this weird obsession I have right now with living in London. Don’t ask me why, I just do. As good as this program/uni sounds, at the moment, I’m leaning toward a program at my alumni Uni of Edinburgh back in Scotland. The program seems to be right up my alley and I’ve already been in contact with one of the heads of program (can you believe that he taught one of my classes when I was there three years ago, had tutorial with him, and he says he remembers me?!). Basically, it’s International Relations for the Middle East with a mandatory Arabic language component, with possible travel in between the two years to either Egypt or Jordan for research opportunities. Hell. To. The. Mother. Fucking. Yes. Where do I sign up and how long will it take?

One of the problems with finding your dream grad school program right now is this: I can’t do it yet. I mean, yes, physically I could (but couldn’t ‘cause the school year has already started), but my guilt and regret meter would be offthecharts if I were to do that. I want to go with all my heart and soul, even right now would be great, but I can’t leave this place; I have an obligation to my school, my counterpart, my new host-family (who are FUCKING PHENOMENAL, btw), and my friends here. To leave them now would just be… awful. So, basically, you’re all going to have to do with Extremely Impatient Sarah for the next 21 months. Hope I’m not too much of a pain in the ass.

Quick family update: due to circumstances that were beyond my control-ish, I moved (twice) and am now currently living with a different host-family. Guys, they’re great! SO different from the other families I’ve dealt with having been in-country. There’s a host-mom, dad, two little inis (6 and 5), and one little singdhe (1 – she always cries when she’s given to me, hope that’ll change). And while my first host-family here in Jyldyz had kids sometimes, these kids actually interact with me. They talk to me (a lot). They hang out in my room (a lot). They ask me questions about me and my stuff (a lot). And despite being normal kids and whining (a lot), they’re really good, cute kids. My host-mom is great, she’s pretty close to my age – she’s 28 – so she talks to me all the time, helping me integrate into the family and inviting me to family events. Y’ALL – I FINALLY GOT A BANYA (granted, it was a communal one – awkwarrrrrrd – but come on)! So, fingers crossed that things continue to go this way and these could be a very tolerable next two years family-wise. :)

On an incredibly random note: Y’all (why I do I keep saying this? I’m blaming Casey Palmer, despite not having hung out with her in a while), I canNOT stop watching the silly TV show Chuck. Like, legitimately. It’s not even that sodding amazing (who am I kidding, yes it is!) but I watch it all the time. If I had to pinpoint the main reason why I watch the show, it would definitely be because of Zachary Levi. Dear GOD, that man is attractive. But it’s not the only reason. As cliché and overused as the main-character-is-in-love-with-his-partner storyline is, this one just works. Maybe because it’s so tormented-star-crossed-lovers and I’m a sap for that kind of stuff, or maybe just ‘cause the acting is good. It also doesn’t hurt that the supporting cast is GREAT. Everyone at that silly wannabe Best Buy is hysterical. And seriously, can you go wrong with Mr Adam ‘Jayne’ Baldwin? Uh, the answer is no. He’s just too badass for his own good. Joss Whedon, you done well finding that kid. And even though most of the time I can see where the story’s going, I still love it, because every once in a while they’ll spring something on me that just makes me stare at my computer screen and go ‘WTF?!’ outloud. With that being said, I apologize in advance if you end up constantly listening to me enthuse about this show and its lead. I’ll get over it eventually. Just roll with the punches on this one. Haha.

Wish I had a more eloquent way to end this, but I do. So, as I send my love and best wishes to everyone, especially starting new school years, jobs, etc., I leave you with this brilliant quote: ‘In case I don’t see you – good afternoon, good evening, and good night.’