Peace Corps Stories Section:
Main Page (Introduction and Contents)
PCV FAQ, questions about my experience and the Peace Corps in general
I Was (Almost) Tattooed by Headhunters
Quentin, the World Traveler
Stalking Extremely Small Game
The Christians and the Pagans
We Visit the Land Dayaks
Maps of Malaysia and Sarawak
Pictures of Sarawak
Peace Corps Links
Christmas News Letters
This is page 5 of 6. If you came here directly from a search engine, you should read the introduction at the top of the Main FAQ Page. This page has these questions:
Q: Did you have readjustment problems, when you came back?
I spent 2 years in Sarawak, on the north-west coast of Borneo, 1971 - 1972. I didn't see roads wider than 4 lanes or go faster than 40 MPH for two years. (on the ground; I took a couple of plane trips.) I came home to California. Traffic made me nervous for about a year. I noticed children were rude to their parents and/or teachers for two or three years. I lasted less than 60 days trying to teach 8th-grade math. (I'd taught 10th - 12th grade English in Malaysia.)
I'd developed an accent in Malaysia. People in California made fun of me if I didn't pronounce the "d" in words like "Water" and "forty". My clothes looked funny too; in Malaysia if you were rich enough to afford shoes and socks you showed them off. In California at the time (1973) it was the practice to buy pants so long that your heel wore a hole in the back of the cuff, at the bottom.
I still miss Hokkien fried noodles and durien fruit.
Q: Any advice for returning Peace Corps Volunteers?
When you come back, trade all but a few souvenir bills for American money over there, or, better yet for AmEx traveler's checks in the local currency. The demand for Kenyan Shillings or Malaysian Ringetts is small in the USA, so the exchange rate is horrible. The exchange rate was 3 Ringetts to US$1 in Malaysia, 4:1 in San Francisco. I lost 25% of the money I hadn't bothered to exchange there.