I forgot how horrible being outside of your comfort zone is. It sounds fun and adventurous and important when you’re not actually doing it. The mosquitos, moisture, and heat are things I can handle (thanks Bahamas/TCI). Hand washing clothes? No problem. Food? Easy. I eat everything. Tabo? …this definitely takes some adjusting to. Tagalog? Just stamp dumbass on my forehead. I’ve never had more respect for the difficulties that come with language and culture barriers. At this point, I cannot even begin to envision myself able to do my CRM (coastal resource management) job remotely well, or at all. Adjusting and integrating will take all of my attention for at least the first year. Yes, I’ve heard other Volunteers say this is true, but I’m really starting to understand why it takes so long. And get this- I probably won’t even be speaking Tagalog. These first few days have been incredibly challenging and often lonely, but it only gets easier from here, right? (Right???)

I don’t know what’s more difficult: being so uncomfortable in this unfamiliar environment that I can’t think of anything else, or finally feeling a small sense of comfort and only thinking of you. I must keep myself distracted because the latter is too easy to lose entire nights of sleep over. I have to do what I can to put you out of my mind in the early morning because if not, she shouts “go to him! Go to him!” so loudly that I am distracted the rest of the day by your absence (or, I guess, mine).

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