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I Lost My Wedding Ring Yesterday in the River

…so I’m a pretty bummed about that.

Our House at Night

I haven’t written I almost a month and I’m still not sure what to write about. I could write about how different and challenging my life here is but it’s only different and challenging compared to my previous life. It’s still a lot easier than most people’s.

Well… I just weighed myself. Looks like I’m down 10-15lbs. Fortunately, my stomach has gotten a lot better. My first night out here I ate a really really hot pepper on accident and it upset my stomach lining. So for about 3 weeks there I didn’t eat much and felt nauseas all the time. However, my situation has improved and now I just work on staying hydrated.

It’s hard to believe that 2 months ago I was finishing up my last week of work behind a desk in the AC all day (with internet!). I had it so easy. I guess I had it too easy because my health suffered a lot from it. My muscles are really struggling to catch up to this environment. It’s gotten better for sure, but like today… today I walked/hiked 9mi. I’ll be honest, that’s really challenging for me. It absolutely wears me out by the end of the day. Not to mention that I generally try and conserve water and I don’t get to eat a lot during the day. So I’m not always bursting with energy.

Me & Gabrielle

Me & Gabrielle

But back to what I had… It hasn’t even been 2 months and already my previous arrangement seems foreign. Waking up and driving to work and sitting there all day and coming home and watching a movie… all in the AC with tons of food around. It sounds more like a vacation at this point. Ha. The difficult part is, I can’t fully explain what makes life here so challenging and sadly, you’ll probably never fully understand because you aren’t here. It’s not anyone’s fault, it’s just the way it is. And that’s hard for me sometimes. When I came back from Hungary I had a really difficult time adjusting back and reconnecting with that life. And now I’m feeling that way when I think about writing in the blog. It’s like I said, things are tough and different, but only because I previously had it so tremendously easy.

Our Living Room

Let me try and explain my day (or what my day could possibly consist of)… On any given day, I might sleep in and wake up around 9 or so. (Regardless of how much sleep I get, I wake up tired. 12hrs of sleep? 5hrs? Doesn’t matter. Tired.) I might get up and get clothes together to wash or I might read or work on something Peace Corps related. I might have a meeting to prepare something for or just plan for the next couple of days. None of these require me to leave the house (basically). However, the other half of my days consist of me getting up early and going out. I might ride down to Port Antonio to run some errands. This is the closest main city. It’s 12mi (1hr) down the road. Or I might go up onto the Cunha Cunha pass with my host parents and help them with something out there. This requires anywhere from 2-4mi of hiking up/downhill. It’s more likely that I’ll walk to Moore Town (where I technically work). This community is 4mi away. Sometimes I can catch a taxi for the second 2mi of the journey, however, in the afternoon it’s difficult, so that’ about 6mi to and from work. Currently, I’m helping out with a metal staircase down to a waterfall. This is another mile to get to. So Monday I walked/hiked around 8 or 9mi. It’s really hard to do anything else after that. I have to space those days out between the down days.  Basically, you just have to walk everywhere. And I’m trying to think of how to explain the road conditions…  I pretty much have to watch every step. It’s the road that time (and the government) forgot. Every time I walk somewhere I’m one step away from twisting an ankle on a misplaced step.  It’s just takes a lot of concentration and some strong ankles. It’s getting a lot better though. I’m not struggling nearly as much as I was those first 2 weeks. So it’s getting better.

Our Kitchen

And if you couldn’t tell by the pictures, we’re out in the middle of nowhere. There are no restaurants or movie theaters or McDonalds or… there’s nothing. There are some small shops that sell random snacks and drinks, but that’s about it. There’s not much “escape” from where we are. This is tough. However, we have found things to help. There’s a KFC in Port Antonio. I would never get KFC back home but here it’s a delight. They have this thing called a Famous Bowl and it’s a bowl of mashed potatoes, corn and BBQ chicken. I love it. And it’s air conditioned in there. It’s a nice treat when we go to town. The iPod and guitar help a lot too. (Music is a huge comfort to me personally.) And then there are the movie “vendors” in town where we can find some new movies to watch back home with the fam. So we’re making it work.

Our Bathroom

On top of that, we miss everyone. We miss our friends. We miss our family. And while all of this is going on for us, you’re lives are still moving on as usual (regardless of where we are or what we’re doing). So it’s hard knowing we’re missing out on all the lives we were able to keep up with so easily before this. And not just your lives, but world happenings. Being without internet makes time feel different. I feel like I’ve been here for 6 months. When’s the last time you went a week without checking your email? I would dare you to try but it’s not humanly possible short of getting stranded on a desert island. After the first day, you start preparing for the world to stop at any moment. It’s nuts. And it’s gotten better, but when I don’t get to check my email for a week, I still feel like it’s been a month. I’m just positive that someone out there has put their life on hold until I respond to some email.

Ah well.

The most useful items I packed (other than the Mac and my giant Nalgene):
– the Buff UV Headwear
– a week’s supply of ExOfficio underwear
– iPod and Sony Earbuds
– Bolle Aviator Shades
– North Face 100% Nylon shirts

(I made a full list of all the items I purchased before coming here. I’ll post that down the road.)

Oh yeah, cold showers. When’s the last time you chose to take a cold shower? That’s all we’ve had since we got here (although one night we stayed a “hotel” and they had hot water but it felt so weird to me that I took a luke cold shower instead). Anywho, here’s a short list of things cold showers don’t do:

– feel good.
– turn you on
– make you feel relaxed
– make you look forward to your next shower
– make you want to get out of bed in the morning.

Having said that, I can’t imagine taking hot showers here. But I would definitely warm it up a touch.

Nanny Falls

I guess that’s all for now. A little over a week now until we graduate to be actual Peace Corps Volunteers. We’ve only lost 3 people out of the 50-something that came. I think our group is doing really well. They seem to communicate their struggles well, but still keep a positive attitude about the whole thing. One of our facilitators said something that stood out to me yesterday. He was talking to us about the emotional cycle people go through in Peace Corps and how to call and talk to people if you start wanting to go home. Anyway, talking about people’s attitudes he said, “If you don’t want to go home, then you’ll make it work.” And that’s it. That’s it with everything in life. If you don’t want to fail or quit, then you’ll adapt and survive and make it. I can’t think of one time in my life where that hasn’t held up.  I find that amazing.

So, I guess you all can start making your travel plans now because I don’t think we’ll be coming home anytime soon.


7 Responses

  1. Stay positive. That’s the only advice I can have. Right now you are getting to experience things that many people will never do. It’s going to be different (only you will know how different it actually is), but it has to be fulfilling. Enjoy the fact that you aren’t tethered to a pc all day and have the freedom to move about. Everyone’s life will continue on like yours is, and there will be plenty of time to catch up later!

  2. A person’s experiences will change thinking, reactions, a multitude of things. Sounds like perspective is important. Reinforce between you two, the reasons why you chose the PC. Life is what you make it, no matter where you are. Cliche’-ish, but true? Hang in there and focus on what you’re accomplishing…probably more than you realize. Much love and prayers to you both!

  3. So sorry to hear about your ring. Sometimes those little things can be the hardest to bear. “Don’t cry over spilt milk” is a tough thing to follow some days.
    I laughed out loud when I read your description of the road conditions. Just this morning I took a spill during my morning run. I’ve been here for a year, but I still haven’t learned to pay more attention to my feet.
    We are really looking forward to seeing you guys soon. Hang in there and we promise you a tasty cook-out dinner!!

  4. You are a male, we all lose the first ring my friend. Tis only symbolic…and about 25,287.50 Jamaican Dollars to replace.

  5. well mine’s only about 6,000JD but it’s still disappointing.

  6. Thanks Josh. I understand better now. jt

  7. There’s a KFC in Port Antonio! When did that happen? I won’t have to pack a picnic for the beach anymore. Woohoo!

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