But not yet. I’m not freaking out yet.
Sure, no one was there to get me at the airport. So what?! I threw my hands up, laughed at the sky and after 45 minutes called in the reinforcements (Steve ) for help. But panic I did not! My voice cracked but I did not cry. Even after an hour passed I remained dry-cheeked. This is an accomplishment.
Once collected, the car drive that threatened a premature death with every swerve and honk of the horn was taken in stride. I gripped not the shit-handles or clenched my teeth. I merely surrendered. I almost freaked out, but not yet…
Being escorted into my prison barracks with a single, paper-thin mattress on a dubiously twisty metal frame invoked no anxiety. “Charming!” I screeched as I mentally swept the cobwebs from the ceiling and the bugs from the walls. I have identified 4 kinds of ants in my residence so far; kitchen ants, bathroom ants, table ants and bed ants. But I am not freaking out yet. Not just yet.
Crossing the street with it’s choking fart-smelling streets and crazy “get out of my way motherfucker” scooters and buses like a demented Frogger has proven both challenging and rewarding! Every time I make it to the other side I yell in my head “I lived!” No freaking out.
My host family has 5 dogs, 50 roosters and a gigantic alligator fish (yes. it is what you are picturing) that co-habitate with me. They bark, crow and threaten at all hours. They smell and itch and lick in equal proportion but I am not freaking out yet.
My house is shared with 9 other people and my room is shared with 3 of them. None of whom I have met, but apparently they all have an empty water bottle collection and enjoy sprinkling the floor with various food stuffs like wedding confetti. But no one is celebrating. Our communal areas are filled with once lavish furnishings and crawling walls, what I thought was a jar of coffee turned out to be ants. I am the latest contestant on Sri Lanka Survivor and I am not freaking out.
There is no Wifi and no internet without a journey. There is no Facebook and no Blogger and no communication with my husband I can access by craning my head round a door. There is no one here. Not yet. But I am not freaking out.
Currently 4 volunteers are in hospital.
There is no hot water. Anywhere. Ever.
It is horrendously hot. Everywhere. All the time.
No air conditioning anywhere. Ever.
I booked my stay too long for my 90 day visa, so I need to change my flight.
But I’m here. I’m doing it. I can never undo it and I won’t regret it. I will learn to love it like a replacement hamster and forget that I ever didn’t love it before. I will pilgrimage to beaches and run into the sea. I will put smiles on faces and teach people new things, I will be of use and make myself useful. They say anything worth doing is never easy. One day I will say this was worth it.
But not today. Today I’m freaking out.