|Sunday, June 2
It has been so hectic in the 10 days we've been here I've only had time to make notes for this journal. Now, at last, I can write a real entry. It's Sunday afternoon and for once we have nothing official scheduled. My clothes are drying on the line (I have to sit here and watch them, my host mother told me, because "bad people" may come and steal them) and I'm sitting in the shade of some kind of fruit tree.
I'm not so sure about those bad people, for I've certainly not met anyone yet who fits that description. Everyone we've met so far, from the training staff to our host families, has been remarkably kind and nice. It's a cliche, I know, but the people really are exceptionally nice; they can't do enough for you, and, much to my surprise, they understand us much better than I thought they would.
Maybe understand isn't the word. Maybe the real point is that they just aren't as different as I thought they would be or was led to believe they would be. Or maybe it's that in spite of a few superficial differences, in clothes, food, dress, that underneath they are more like us than I thought. Why do I say this? It's just that there haven't been any real disasters yet; I haven't done anything that has shocked or offended anyone. I suppose it's because I learned a lot of the do's and don'ts from that culture-shock book I read before coming here that I can get by without making any major mistakes. And I certainly haven't observed anything that really shocked or offended me.
I really do understand more than I expected to (not the language, of course, but the things people do) and recognize a lot of common behaviors. I watched people in a restaurant the other night, and there was nothing they did that I wouldn't do back home. On the other hand, come to think of it, I did see someone kick a dog the other afternoon and was shocked at such casual cruelty.
I have a lot to learn, I'm sure, but if these first few days are any indication, this is not going to be quite as hard as I had expected.