Saturday, October 10, 2009
We arrived at our homestays today, the families we will be living with for the next three months during our pre-service training. My host mom is 25 years old! She is finishing schooling now in order to be a primary school teacher and will actually graduate about the same time I finish training in December. She didn’t try to bathe me (as we had been warned might happen), but did give me a thorough demonstration of proper technique. She also showed me how to use the toilet which was incredibly helpful. The house has electricity and no running water, but the indoor bathroom has a bathtub, sink, and sit-down toilet. Living in the house are my house mom, her three year old son, her mother, her seven year old nephew, and 13 year old niece, but there are always other cousins and relatives in and out. The boys are a little wary of me still but her son offered me one of his cookies so I think he likes me. I took my first bath yesterday with a tub of warm water and a cup with which to pour the water over you. I really liked it and was impressed by how little water was needed to bathe. I still had water left over but we were told to use all of it so our host families don’t think we are dirty. Bathing is very important here and we have been told that most people bathe 2-3-4 times a day. I wasn’t able to initially convey the concept of a nickname (which I was able to later explain, but too late), so my host mother has been calling me “Anata.” First time in my life. The problem is that I don’t respond to it whatsoever so I’m not sure what I will decide to do. After dinner my host mom and I sat and talked for about an hour, it was incredibly refreshing to know I can do that (though I did have my dictionary on hand the whole time and consulted it often)! I can understand most of what she is saying and although my grammar is awful, I am able to get my thoughts across. We talked about our families (she has nine siblings, which she didn’t know right away, she had to count them out when I asked) and our interests. I really like it here and am excited!