swimming in the deep end

On my third day back in LPB, it was about as hot as I had expected. Meaning, that it was really stinkin' hot and I wanted to do absolutely nothing but sit under my room's fan, which only works at half speed. It was also one of the very, very few times in my life that I have experienced jet lag. However, I rallied as soon as Luke and Dora suggested we take a former Novice friend of ours for a swim in the pool. 

There are a few hotels/resorts on the French side of town that allow people to swim in their posh pools for a fee. Being more local than most, however, Dora and Luke knew of an Olympic-size pool only a short bike ride away from the staff house that was open to the public for only 10,000 kip {roughly $1.50}. The four of us loaded up on our bikes and pedaled to the local pool. 

The four of us played 'chicken fight' in the water...until we found an actual dead bird floating in lane 4. We swam like speedy tadpoles...until we found a dead frog. Our ex-Novice friend caught a true fit of laughter, to the point that I thought he might drown. He was smiling and laughing without focusing on, ya know, staying above water. The three of them dove off the diving platforms {Luke tried anyway} and I dried off on the sidelines, praying not to catch some sort of nasty disease from the dead animal infested waters. 

As I sat there drying, I thought about how living in Laos is a bit like diving straight into the deep end of a pool. 

I remembered the lay of the town, the friendliness of the people, the traditions of the culture. I forgot exactly how real the poverty is and how intense the heat gets. I never knew how overwhelming and at times emotional running a project with 8 classes full of girls would be. They are immensely special and I never want to let them down. In those ways, it's sort of like I remembered how to float, but need to practice holding my breath under water, ya know?

I'm so happy to be back, especially as this week I've gotten to step back in the classroom and actually teach my girls, but I'm not quite swimming yet. Still learning the ropes and letting it set in that this is my real life-- dead birds in the pool and all. 

In the end, the pool was an absolute laugh and when you're in Laos, you kind of just have to laugh at the incredibly strange shit that goes down. Because there is a lot of it.