It’s about time I got this thing up and running. As you may’ve concluded, this is going to be my One-Stop blog for all things related to my 6 month Thailand extravaganza of a trip. I’ll be posting stories, pictures, videos, stories, songs?, pictures, and a whole host of different media related to my experience, and I’ll do it with style and eloquence.
But whatever, on to the important stuff. I successfully completed my trip to Thailand and am currently in Orientation with CIEE, preparing me to deal with (and, ideally, teach something to) a mass of Thai youths. The last few days since I’ve arrived in this country, though, have been utterly insane. So insane, in fact, that I intend to cover it over the next few blog posts. This first one will cover the early/easy stuff.
Yeah, that’s Seal. Music superstar, Conquerer of Polio and Husband to Supermodels. He was on our flight from Tokyo to Singapore. Also, dude was huge. He was kind of wearing heels or something, but he was probably 6’2″ at the least and was broader than I expected. (Shout out to my travel buddies, Taylor and Maggie)
So anyway, I arrived to Thailand in the afternoon. Got picked up at the airport, dropped off at the hotel. The hotel is really nice, especially considering the state of the neighborhood it’s in (more on that later). Here’s a few pics of the room:
Don’t judge me, we didn’t have to clean.
View from the room. Living luxuriously amirite??
After getting settled in, my first objective was to find food. The streets near the hotel are, and I mean this as literally as I can, plagued with food. Pretty much every house on the street sells some sort of food all day. I was going to go to one of the million of those but, thankfully, I hadn’t built up the courage to try them out yet. The food often looks pretty good, but my number one goal for the first few weeks here is to not get sick and eating privately cooked duck meat probably won’t do that.
Instead, I went to a Fresh Mart and got a microwavable meal and giant water bottle. It was my first interaction with a native Thai person, so I took the opportunity to test my non-verbal communication. Result? Meh. It took me a while, but I managed to purchase the food and ask for a plastic fork to eat it with when I got back to my hotel room. The cost of the whole thing? 97 baht, which is roughly 3 dollars.
Which leads me to the following point. Everything is dirt cheap here. I knew it would be, but I still wasn’t prepared for how insanely discounted things are. The place I went to this first day is probably one of the more expensive meals I’ve purchased since I got here. You’ll see that more and more throughout this blog.
I’ll finish this post with some CIEE Orientation info. I’m pretty shocked by how many genuinely interesting, decent people I’ve met. There are about 80 of us in the orientation group and I’ve probably gotten to know near half of them. Most of us are in the same age range, but there’s a pretty good variety in background, considering the rather specific nature of the program.
Orientation itself has been really helpful. We spend about a third or our time learning Thai (I’ll probably address some of that in the next post. Easily the most difficult language I’ve come across), a third learning teaching strategies (we had a brilliant British expatriate instructing us. The guy really knows his stuff. To prove how daunting it can be to learn a foreign language from a foreigner, he spent one session teaching us all German from the ground up, speaking only full German throughout the class. In about 45 minutes, we could all ask and answer five different questions in German. It even looks more difficult than it sounds, I promise), and a third learning about Thai culture.
One such instance of Thai culture learning came in the form of the welcome ceremony. All the Thai natives of the CIEE staff showed us a proper and beautiful traditional Thai welcoming, complete with candles, ritual bracelet giving and a great speech on the history of the ceremony by resident wise old lady Kruu Kai (which roughly translates to Chicken Teacher. Everyone in Thailand has nicknames, apparently, so I guess this is hers).
The tying of the bracelets.
So that’s all for now. I’m going on a two day trip to some perfect, Olympian wonder-beach, so I’ll be away from the internet, but part two will go up in a few days. Be patient! Can’t rush art, yo…
Love and miss you all! Till next time!
What I’m reading: Lolita by Vladimir Nabokov/Ender’s Game by Orson Scott Card
[Untitled] Novel Progress: 8%