I stand at the front of a small room with my supervisor. He is giving my presence a context before giving me the mic. I then take it, and slowly introduce myself and tell the group where I’m from. They smile and clap, proof that my 8 hours of language training this week paid off, and they actually understood my two phrases. He takes the mic back and explains that I’ve been here six days and that I’m learning the language… or at least that’s what I think he said. He hands the mic back to me and I turn to my teammate on guitar who smiles and strums the first chord. I’m volunteering to sing special music today.
Six days. SIX DAYS!! Six days since I wrote on this blog (and yes I know it hasn’t been two weeks yet but I just couldn’t wait another week! So bonus for you!!) I haven’t quite been here a week and I have already: sung for a group of people, eaten a ton of new foods, taken local transportation by myself (think rickshaw- but with a motor bike), ridden (not driven yet) ridden a motor bike successfully, ridden a motor bike unsuccessfully, moved into a house, messed up ordering, and gotten local skirts made to fit the dress code at work.
Everywhere I go, I greet people with a smile, a nod, and a ‘hello’ in their language, my palms pressed together and my fingers touching my chin. They usually smile back. I’ve tried ordering a few things and got the money wrong every time so far (1000 and 10000 look waaaaay too similar), but I know how to say ‘I’m sorry!’ So the shop keepers usually laugh and tell me it’s okay.
I’ve walked when I should have gotten a rickshaw. I’ve worn a skirt when I should have worn pants and I’ve worn pants when I should have worn a skirt. I’ve run into the only people that I know in the city while having lunch (#smalltownlife!) and been woken up by cawing roosters and screaming cats.
I’ve met so many new people and forgot half of their names (but remembered the other half). I thought I broke my sink (I didn’t- but it’s kind of a funny story) and then I washed some clothes in my non-broken sink (thank goodness for YouTube).
I’m still transitioning out of my suitcases and I’ve only just started to settle in that I’m here for longer than just a few weeks.
I’m thankful and excited and nervous and still feel a little lost, but I’m here at last in Southeast Asia! It’s overwhelming. It’s humbling. And every hour brings a new adventure. Glad that I can share it with you!