What T.V. Shows Mean to a PCV

Another Saturday and Sunday switched as my favorite student stayed for a visit most of the day today and now there isn’t much light left. 

I would like to pre-apologize for this post. My patheticness has reached new levels. I was never that much of a tv junkie before I lived in Southeast Asia. The first three months I didn’t have much time to sleep or write, much less watch tv shows online. Now I look at my iCal and it’s littered with notifications of the Fall line-up of what show starts up again when. How did I get here?

Watching Western television shows (or movies) are a PCVs greatest/easiest escape from village life. The way I see it now, it’s an hour each day that I can look forward to drooling over food characters are chomping down (the first time I saw someone eating a chicken caesar wrap nine months in country, I teared up a little), see fashion trends put into action, and, the most luxurious part of all, pick up cultural cues and humor without trying very hard at all. Sometimes I would just put something on in the background to hear what became friendly voices to make me feel a little less alone (but they didn’t expect a bag of tricks and games like my Thai visitors). I think it helps that there isn’t the ridiculous sound effects either.

Exhibit A:

Thais laugh hysterically at this. I don’t.

Post-PST and after settling in at site (pretty much the past yearish), I’ve watched an embarrassing amount of television shows and movies. I’ve tried out some pretty awful shows (Secret Life of the American Teenager and Teen Mom as examples), found some new obsessions (Ringer and Hart of Dixie), and relived some old friends (I may or may not have rewatched all the seasons of Dexter, True Blood, Veronica Mars and all the Harry Potter movies… multiple times, don’t judge me). Of course it helps that I’ve been extremely fortunate with internet throughout my Peace Corps sites with quality service a majority of the time. For those without, the next thing is probably one of the most valuable indulgences a new PCV can bring along with them.

Exhibit B:

You don’t want to get stuck watching this. At ear-splitting volume.

An external hard drive, PC Thailand group 125, put it on your Christmas list. It doesn’t even have to have much on it in the first place, the black market PCV trading pool is quite generous. It makes those guilty pleasures easily attainable that you can sit in your sweltering room during hot season and have something to distract yourself, even for the shortest of times. It can become a bit of an addiction when you’re in such a low feeling misunderstood or that host country nationals just are getting ‘it,’ so you indulge.

Since acquiring my Kindle and cut down on the crafting (it was always so nice to have something on in the background as I was knotting and knitting), I’ve definitely stopped watching as much. Reading is a far better and more brain productive escape than a lot of the trash I’ve come to savor in Thailand. There are some cinematic pleasures that I’ll never forget what they meant to me during these throughout ups and downs (‘Ah, Landa!’), but I look forward to when I need to be a little choosier with what I watch either because of work, spending time with friends and family, or finding new places to discover while traveling.

On that note, I better get back to Dexter, while I have the time. Season premiere tomorrow!

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