The First Month

One Month In

Adjusting at Home

I’ve been in Sri Lanka for about a month now.  I think my stomach just figured out that it’s in Southeast Asia.  I’ve had the trots on the daily all weekend long.  Nothing horrible, just a bit uncomfortable.  But it’s really interesting how it took a month for it to catch up with me!  After a day of shopping with Erika and then a little lunch at our school’s Welcome Back Picnic, I went home to get ready to go out for our dinner club.  I was putting some things away, when I got a bit of a feeling in my bowels.  It didn’t seem to urgent, but then all of a sudden:  I needed the toilet right away!  But I didn’t make it in time.  This hadn’t happened to me in a very ver long time.  And I’m pretty sure it’s never happened to me when I’ve been 6 feet away from a toilet!

I cleaned up and got ready to go out, and all was good.  But boy was that gross!  Not exactly sure why I’m posting this on the internet…but no one really reads my blog anyways, and I thought it was pretty funny.

Anyways, It’s been a very interesting experience getting used to life here on the outskirts of Colombo. I am generally very happy here, but I do get these strange fleeting feelings of WTF!?!  It’s not quite culture shock, not quite home sickness.  But it’s not too far off from these things.  I’m not quite sure what to call it.

I have been really stressing about making Abby happy here.

Abby Front Door
Abby likes to chill out front and catch a little breeze.

Sometimes I feel so badly that I took her from such a great doggy life and moved her to this kind of bad doggie life (in comparison).  It’s hot here.  I can’t walk her regularly.  There’s no place to really let her run off leash.  Most drivers won’t take dogs in their cars.  I don’t have a very big yard.  The yard I do have is covered in ticks.  I freak out about the ticks.  Not just having them all over the place, but all the diseases Abby and I can get from them.

 

I’m sure I’ll figure out how to make Abby happy here.  Once I have that all figured out, I think I’ll feel a lot more settled.  But there’s also been problems with my home.  The oven doesn’t work.  The washing machine has been on the fritz.  My air conditioner doesn’t work.  I’ve had difficulties with my housekeeper too.  All these things wear on me.  But I’m a pretty tough cookie and there are a lot of people here who are very friendly and very willing to help me figure things out. I certainly don’t feel alone with any of these challenges!

When I feel stress, I have a tendency to shut down a little and shut people out a bit.  One thing I’m actively working on is reaching out and seeking support from people when I feel stressed out.  I do feel so much better after seeing people and talking about things with people.  I have to remember that and make it a part of my self care.

Adjusting at School

We are 3 weeks into school.  It feels like we’re more like 3 months in though!  I feel like I know my grade 1 team so well, like we’ve worked together for years!  We all get along and gel really well, so it makes it really fun to come to work every day.  That part is SO important!!  After my experience at my previous school, where I worked with such a fantastic team, many of whom I considered to be very dear friends, I was worried I’d never be able to get that kind of thing at work again.  But I really feel like I’ve found a very special school and a very special team to work with at my school.

And the kids.  They are so much fun to teach.  I truly enjoy them all.  I’ve always loved teaching.  But over the past couple of years, I was getting so burnt out on teaching kids with emotional disturbance, I think I was worried that I was burning out as a teacher in general.  I’m so relieved that this is not the case.  Sure it’s still hard work.  But I love it.  I honestly love going to work every day.  What a far cry from my last job, where I literally cried on my way to work on most days for the past 3 years.

Although there are some definite challenges going on, and some days I do have some doubts, I am very happy about my life here.  I think sometimes I put pressure on myself to be “perfect” and when I’m not (or things aren’t), then I assume I’m failing.  That’s why reaching out and being social has been so important.  The people around me take me out of my head, and give me perspective.  And that’s what you need when you’re in a transition like this I think.

Sunset
View from my bedroom balcony:  sunset over my neighborhood.
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