High: The students have cared for us so well. They have cooked really delicious food for us, help to wash our clothes, and keep water ready at our house every day. When I went to shower and there was no water, a group of six or seven people worked to get the water hooked up again, all returning soaked. They really are kind and work to make us comfortable.
A very low Low: The mosquitoes are eating me alive. They usually are quite brutal, and I often have triple or quadruple the bites that Stephen will get, but this is a whole new ball game. I look like I have the chicken pox, and my lower legs and arms are just covered in red dots. I have eight bites on the soles of my feet and one on each palm. Really? I can’t even begin to count the rest as there are just way too many; I am discovering ten to twenty more every day! The students are always asking–and probably so are you–why don’t you wear mosquito repellent? Are you sleeping under a mosquito net? Yes and yes. I put on repellent a few times a day, I am sleeping under the mosquito net, I am wearing long pants whenever I can. They just like me for some reason I can’t explain, and it’s far worse here than it has been.
It is quite a bit of discomfort, as it does feel like I have the chicken pox. But it is making it difficult to sleep, waking me up in the middle of the night, and causing some concern for malaria. We are all praying that I stop getting bit, stop itching, and don’t get malaria!
High: Stephen is great, and he is nice to put cold water and anti-itch herbal greasy stuff on my bites. (Yim told me this will work. It smells like menthol and citronella, and it makes my legs all shiny and slimy. It might be a low in and of itself.)
High: There was a spider on the table the other day, and it was pretty significantly huge and striped and scary. Stephen asked if he could kill it, which Yim said yes to. He asked me to pass him a shoe, to which Yim adamantly exclaimed, “NO! You can’t shoot it!”
High: I love how much time I have to read in the jungle. I have already finished CS Lewis’ The Great Divorce, which I read twice back to back, and Tim Keller’s Generous Justice, which I recommend with high esteem. And I’m halfway into Jared Diamond’s Guns, Germs, & Steel for the fourth time, and still finding it to be pivotal to my faith. Despite the fact that this is not his purpose or intent, this book consistently points me to truth and the sovereignty of God. I love having the time to read in the afternoons!
High: I have begun showering in the morning, mostly because there are less girls there to watch me. I understand the interest of a huge (taller & fatter), glaringly white girl in a sarong that she isn’t great at keeping up with crazy hair and shaving her legs. I’m sure it is a sight to behold, but it is still awkward to be watched. If I go in the mornings, there are just two or three girls instead of eight or nine.
However, it is very, very cold. The days only get to the low 80s here, and the nights get down into the 50s. When we shower in the morning, steam comes off our skin while when the icy cold water hits our 98.6 degree bodies.
Today, as I walked into the shower area, one of the girls said in plain English, “Teacher, are you sure?” I just burst into laughter. No cheery “good morning” or “how are you,” just an “Are you sure you want to do this?”
High: One of the boys was looking at my headlamp and turned it on to the red light setting. They usually haven’t seen this before, and he did ask me about it in Karen. I told him how the bugs didn’t like the red light and don’t fly into it, but they do like the white light. He asked me if it hurt your eyes. I thought he meant when you put it on the path in front of you, which I thought was kind of an odd question. I said no, it was no problem for your eyes.
He then turned it right into his eyes, and gave the expected look of shock, discomfort, and temporary blindness. He blinked a few times and looked me quite confused. I started laughing and told him sorry! I didn’t know he meant if he looked directly into the light; that certainly will hurt your eyes…Oops. Maybe we can blame that one on translation?
Low: The creatures. They are always a low, but the large snake I saw, a skinnier snake that went across Stephen’s path just inches in front of him, a HUGE snake he saw beside the river, two of the biggest spiders I’ve ever seen, and a trail of ants going across my bed, and mosquitoes with a personal vendetta against me are just exhausting me.
High: We have had time to study language! Stephen is working hard on his Burmese, and I have had time to listen to many Karen conversations and talk with many students. Their English level is quite low, so I have been forced to use Karen. I’m really thankful for this!
Low: America, family, and familiarity feels really far away right now. I’m not sure why that is, but I have been very homesick this week, both for America and Mae Sot. Maybe just for rest for our souls.
High: The training is going really well and quite quickly. We are hopeful to finish early next week, and I am hopeful that the students are understanding it! I still really love my job, and no matter how ridiculous it is, I find social development to be absolutely intriguing.