Saturday, November 14, 2009

A long road

Before I came to Cambodia there were many things I never imagined doing. These things include eating ants and crickets, pooping in holes, being hit by moto scooters, wiping my butt with my hand, and doing my laundry with a bucket and brush. Recently this has come to include extracting bats from my mosquito net in the middle of the night. Imagine yourself in my position, sleeping after a long day of teaching and suddenly waking up to a bat flying around your face. I almost screamed. Quickly I grabbed my headlamp and jumped out of my bat cell. After about five minutes I had calmed down a bit and lifted one edge of the mosquito net, carefully so as I would not be hit by the aggravated bat on his way out. I tried my hardest to make a large enough opening that the bat would take notice and fly out to freedom. After five minutes the bat did just that.

How did this bat become trapped in my mosquito net? As previously mentioned, my mattress is WAY too big for my bed frame making it very difficult to tuck all the edges of my net under my mattress at night. After a few weeks I had given up on one side of the net for convenience sake allowing those mosquitoes smart enough to get in to bite me to their hearts content. Little did I realize that this also gave clearance for other creatures; namely, bats. Since this episode I have been sure to tuck ALL my net’s edges under my mattress at night AND weigh them down with books. It not only saves me from bat invaders but gives me a little library to choose from at nighttime without having to leave my bed :)

Before I came to Cambodia I never really rode a bicycle. I knew how to ride but as my mother was always very (almost overly) nervous about us riding our bicycles anywhere but the driveway, I never became very confident with the bicycle. And as I grew up I never really considered it a transportation option. However, now that I am in Cambodia and a Peace Corps Volunteer, my bicycle has now become my only transportation option as taxis are too expensive (for me) and I am not allowed to ride a moto. Just recently I made the 40 km (26 miles – a marathon!) commitment to ride to my provincial town. It went by surprisingly quickly. It was fun to see the other parts of the province next to where I live. To make it even better, when I stopped for a cold beverage at a sugar juice stand a policeman bought me my drink.

I try not to go into the provincial town too often, because I do not want to make it seem like I do not like my site. I love my site. The people are incredibly friendly and nearly everyone in the town knows by name now. When I go into the market to buy fruit I almost never have to spend any money, the sellers give me the fruit for free. They get offended when I insist on giving them money and so now I have stopped trying and instead make sure to stop by their stand every so often to chat.

School has been great. I have recently started to teach. This year I will teach three 10th grade classes and one 11th grade class for a total of 16 hours a week. I haven’t done anything too crazy or new (yet) but have been taking good notes on what students need help on. My teaching has been pretty much by the book. And by “by the book” I mean by the English For Cambodia” book 4 and 5. There are some INTERESTING stories in there, let me tell you. If I have time one of these days I will definitely copy a story into my blog for your reading pleasure. You may laugh, you may cry, I think you may just be confused by the story/stories. In any case, I am sure you will find them interesting.

On Sunday I will take the road back to my site making my total miles traveled by bike this weekend to 52+. After two years of traveling that distance every other weekend I am sure to log a total of 2704 miles just going to my provincial town and back. Whew – it’s a long road.

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