Ty Miranda, 127
From my site, it’s about 10 miles to the closest Tesco Lotus. Inside this Walmart-copycat is the coveted Pizza Company. Going to Pizza Company reminds me of going to Domino’s or Pizza Hut back in the States. It’s a simple place, with basic quality pizza. Since being at site, I have made this trip to Pizza Company a number of times with little regret.
“But you are supposed to be in the Peace Corps, and you’re eating pizza!” is what I think every time I make the journey. I always imagined the Peace Corps experience being like an extreme camping trip, where I was living on the bare minimum in a hut somewhere in the jungle. I imagined myself having to carry my water up a mountain or poop in a hole. I mean, can you blame me?
Peace Corps placed me in Thailand after the Kenya post was closed. When I was first given the invitation, I was apprehensive. I so longed for that traditional, rough Peace Corps experience. Having been to Thailand, I doubted that would become a reality. I thought the Peace Corps was going to be a piece of cake. I mean, let’s face it: Thailand has Starbucks and Khao San Road. What would I even miss?
I was naive and I was obviously set straight. Yeah, it’s true: Thailand has consistent internet, running water, 7-Eleven, Western food, and even Heineken. And there have been times when I would trade a day in Thailand for a hole in the ground to poop in. But I eventually realized that Peace Corps was going to be a challenging experience, no matter where I was.
Thailand, like any other Peace Corps post, has its own adjustments. While other Peace Corps volunteers get to wear Chacos and shorts to work, most volunteers here have to dress up professionally, even during the scorching summers. While other Peace Corps volunteers get to have site partners or cohorts, volunteers here are pretty spread out. While other Peace Corps volunteers use public transportation to get around, volunteers here are often biking tens of miles to get to work. In the end, serving in different Peace Corps locations may have different obstacles, but they all are still challenging.
This is why I allow myself to eat the damn pizza. Peace Corps Thailand is challenging in its own ways but one of the perks is that I can enjoy pizza. Remember that other volunteers have their own bonuses that we do not get to enjoy, so you should not feel guilty for it. I just try to remember that Peace Corps locations all have their own benefits, one of mine just tends to be that I can bike 10 miles for a good calzone.
I am so thankful to be in Thailand, and it’s not just because of the pizza. “Peace Corps is one of the hardest jobs you’ll ever love,” and it’s every bit true.