It was suggested at one point during training that we have things to remind us of home, in order to keep us sane. I thought it was a sensible suggestion, so I have a bunch of movies on my computer and, when I can, I manage to download the podcasts I used to listen to daily, stuff like Fresh Air, A Prairie Home Companion, This American Life, Savage Lovecast, and a couple others.
Unfortunately, I find that they just remind me of the things I'm missing out on at home. They make me miss having access to them whenever I want; having reasonable access, in fact, to practically anything I want or need. They even remind me, for instance, that I haven't been hiking or camping since I got here and that even when I do get a chance to go, it's not going to be nearly as good as I can get in Idaho.
But then, it doesn't help to just not have those things at all, because I do miss them when they're not there. That may be a bit different now, though, because the last time that I didn't have things and was really missing them was about three weeks in, when all of that was still very fresh in my mind.
I find it strange that it's not the obviously material things that I miss most: a comfortable bed, good food, restaurants, shopping. It's actually the experientials I miss most. Listening to NPR or hiking through the mountains of Idaho have little to do with tangible, material possessions. They're actually more of regular experiences that I valued that cost me little to nothing beyond a tank of gas or time.
And maybe that's why it's still so hard; I'm not really having enjoyable experiences yet. Right now I'm just bored out of my mind because my NGO is on vacation for another week, and I have nothing to do except for sit around and study and read. I've been enjoying reading in the park, which is my substitute for reading at a coffee shop, but that's about the only thing I've really enjoyed and been content with in the last week. I need to actually start doing something, or I'm going to go out of my mind with boredom.