Because It Has
I looked outside yesterday afternoon and noticed the huge drums collecting rainwater. They were larger than I'd realized, and the size of them surprised me. They're so big.
I walked through the banana grove yesterday evening and noticed the leaves as they brushed against my shoulders. They were waxier than I'd realized, and the feel of them surprised me. They're so smooth.
I woke up this morning and noticed the sound of roosters crowing and hens scratching for insects outside my bedroom window. They were louder than I'd realized, and the sound of them surprised me. They're so noisy.
I couldn't possibly share everything that is different from my life in America, because, perhaps in some feeble attempt to make things seem more normal here, I try to forget a lot of it, or at least don't compare it as much as I used to.
I do remember how easy laundry was back home. I do remember how easy traveling was back home. I do remember how easy shopping, cooking, and talking was back home. I remember what it felt like to take a dip in a warm bath, hop in the jacuzzi, take a swim in a saline pool. I remember putting garbage out on the curb, next to the recyclables, next to the compostables. I remember dish washers, DVR, high-speed internet.
I remind myself that I despised traffic, and gas prices were atrocious. I laugh at the fact that I had a gym membership even though there was always somewhere to go, or something to do in nature that would have given me an even better workout.
I miss things, too. I miss my dad's kind words in my ear as we hugged. I miss holding my mom's hand as we talked about life. I miss laughing with my sister. I miss learning from my brother. I miss taking cat naps with Hero curled up beside me. I miss playing with my niece. I miss making music with those I love. I miss my friends. I miss acting. I miss Mexican food.
Here, I sweep every day, but there is always gecko poop on the floor.
Here, I shower multiple times a day with a bucket and never feel clean.
Here, I sleep with a blanket over my head and a fan on to try to ward off all the bugs.
Here, I eat rice more in some days that I did in most weeks.
Here, I use toilet paper if I'm lucky (and store it in a bag to throw away later).
Here, I count myself lucky if I get through a day with less than two new mosquito bites.
Here, I put powder on nearly every inch of skin before getting dressed.
It's different. It has changed.
I get to help out and live on an organic farm here. I get to help people realize their potential. I get to help people understand a language and culture that is so foreign to them. I get to make Thai food and eat it. I get to read a lot. I get to write a lot. I get to laugh with a family that counts me as one of their own. I get to work with people who are genuinely interested in what I have to say. I get to learn a language and live in a culture in a deep and meaningful way.
How lucky I was, before.
How lucky I am, now.