Kara Anthony, 130 TESS
I have been in Thailand for 22 months, 96 weeks, 630 days, 16,060 hours, and 963,601 minutes. When it is broken down like this, it sounds like forever. Six hundred and thirty days. At times, a part of me feels like I have been here this long, and then at other times, I wonder how this is even possible. Since I have been in Thailand, I feel like I have been on an inconsistent roller coaster powered by time. You never really get used to it, how fast or slow the days go even though you think that you can somehow eventually predict the frequency or pick up on the patterns.
I hate to say it, and I hope I don’t sound ridiculous, but I’ve been here for almost two years, and I still have not figured out what powers this thing or what gives it momentum. How this journey speeds up, and then, slows down unexpectedly, I couldn’t tell you.
Time is a strange thing, and how fast or slow this journey is for a person can depend on many different things. For example, impacting factors may include how busy the person is, their daily routine, personal relationships, how that person chooses to spend their free time, how many naps they take daily, etc. While these factors are all important and each one undoubtedly contributes to how we perceive the frequency of time, there is still no single or definite answer.
There were points throughout my service where other volunteers and I would be in agreeance about the movement of time, and how fast it was flying by or how slowly it was going. And then, there would be times when we would each be on a roller coaster of our own. Now that I think about it, time is a commonly discussed topic amongst PCVs. We spend a lot of time thinking about it, and to be honest, this happens whether we would like it to or not. Time is a weird thing: consistent yet inconsistent, predictable yet unpredictable.
I have noticed that once a journey has come to a close or is close to being over, every one looking back wonders how the years slipped by right before their eyes. It’s kind of like college, how once you graduate or when you have one semester remaining you reminisce, you wonder where the years went. This is the same for PCVs worldwide. Not every day was good, easy, or perfect, but you look back on the year collectively, thankfully, with a sense of gratitude.