Problems at home

Good God, I’m bored. I’m bored and I’m on a budget and my fuse is running out. I have ideas I want to act on, meaning painting, nothing that’ll send me to the psych ward. I have places I want to go. I want to see different people. All together I’m frustrated. The good news is I’m aware of it. The good news is there is an end in sight.

Summer break is almost over at my site, and now all the pieces are beginning to fall together. And by fall together I mean I sit with my counterpart in silence nearly everyday and I match the lesson plans to the day and hope that all of my students stay on track and it all works out. I put the finishing touches on my classroom and I hope the students like it. My counterpart asks how I like my house and if I need to go to town for anything, usually my response is “I’m okay.” But then when everything is done for the day, I return home.

Contradiction time. Home is a very fluid concept for long-term travelers and it’s especially true for Peace Corps Volunteers, we land in our training site and stay there with a host family for three months, then we are moved to site and stay with another family for around two months then if we so choose we can move out and be solo. I just moved into my own house and I’m working on making it a home. Not easy. All the things that I would put in the home category aren’t available here and re: I’m Broke, I can’t get them. So no Yankee candles, IKEA is a stretch, and don’t even think about Etsy (although I’ve been saving art to print at a later date). Simply missing home decor? Is that really the problem? No, but in it lacking it creates this feeling I’ve had since arriving in Thailand; that this is not my permanent home. I feel as though I’m still ready to get moved in two months and what’s the point of unpacking if I’ll have to pack again.

For five months Home has been a missing word from my lexicon. I didn’t even use it to describe where I’m from. But now home is back, home has been a checkpoint and I’m there. Home happens when I pull food out of the fridge and after five long months I can cook what I want to eat. Home happens when I can dance and sing without fear of my host family popping in my room and judging me, so Hamilton and clipping. on repeat from 4pm- 2am (good luck neighbors). Home happens when I can sweep my house as many times as I want without my family thinking I’m weird or obsessive compulsive. (Truth is I just really hate having dirty feet, and I have white tile so every speck is visible) But home stops happening when I’m reminded I don’t have running water. Home stops happening when I can hear my neighbors yelling in Thai and I can’t tell if they’re talking at me or to each other. Home stops happening when I walk outside and feel the sun beating on me quite mercilessly.

I moved a lot as a kid. Being a child of divorce moving was common and my home would change week to week or custody agreement to custody agreement depending on what happened first. And you would think that this constant moving would make me great at handling change, but it’s my biggest weakness. Change subconsciously scares the shit out of me. My mom is always the first to notice too. She knows the change is bothering me before I know. When I finally catch wind of my reaction I even out, and I can begin to handle the situation, so finally having my own home should feel amazing but rather I have felt as though I’m suffering from Capgras Delusion. Everything is in place finally, but it doesn’t feel like its mine, it’s been moved so many times and taken up residence in so many homes and hotels I feel like it must’ve been replaced with an exact copy at some point.

I’m now aware of my reactions and I’m beginning my handling of the situation. I clean at least 5 times a day, I move furniture left and right, I take mental inventory and make a nest of my futon every night. Then I marvel at it momentarily. This is my home for the next two years. Better start hanging that decor.

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