Wednesday, April 7, 2010


My stomach hasn't been working since the pork in Pomaire last Thursday, so I'm changing my diagnosis from "mild alcohol poisoning" (which didn't make sense anyway) to food poisoning. It had gotten better, and then it was worse yesterday and I made a poor food choice. So this morning I skipped the first 4 hours of training sessions and stayed at the hostel. I would rather have been well and gone through it with my compaƱeros, but overall I wasn't sorry to miss it. I slept and read a bit.

Field Director Allyson and one of the Americans working for the Ministry both confirmed that security and safety probably had a lot to do with me being in Valpo, inasfar as they will never put women there. As for it being me and Steve, Steve asked if they noticed my black belt and decided I was a better choice, and the Ministry guy said that while he didn't do the individual placements within the region, if the Regional Coordinator saw that (I put it on my WorldTeach resume because I thought it was interesting) they could well have done that. And Steve's passport photo makes him look like a cranky bouncer, and there's only four guys to choose from.

(Stephen, who is hilarious, suggests that we should each put in a few thousands pesos in a pool, for the first one of us that gets robbed.)

Given the need to put people in Valpo, it's not hard to rationalize that one of them should be me. It's just a little sad because it's not where I want to be, and it was probably avoidable, had I made a different choice about my resume. Of course I will be in some small sub-community that I'll integrate into and enjoy, and Valpo's a great little city, with at least a few things to do that don't involve drinking. (Although I'm pretty easily entertained these days.)

Lesson learned this week: never mention the black belt in any offiicial form or piece of paper.

But who knows? Maybe Valpo was the only place they could find a host family that didn't have cats. There's no way to tell, and plenty of times I've had these "It must have been X" chains of reasoning disintegrate in the face of some simple, unconsidered reality.

Apparently I'm significantly bothered by the whole thing, since I keep coming back to it. That has to do with my expectations of and desires for what my experience will be like, and what kinds of places I think I like living. That's an impossible situation: it was never going to be what I thought I wanted, and I'm not here to experience everything being the way I want. I came looking for difficulty, and I've probably found it.

1 comment:

  1. But there's antique hill-climbing cable cars--what's not to like?! John will be very happy to get a postcard with one of those on it :-)