Tuesday, October 22, 2013

A journey of a thousand miles...

Sawadee ka, my friends! I feel as if I've lived two lifetimes in the past 10 days. I've traveled over 9,000 miles, and spent at least 70 hours flying, riding buses, riding motorcycles, riding elephants, rafting and walking, walking, walking! It's been one sensory overloading experience after another and I'm finally getting to the point where I am feeling settled and comfortable with this new reality.

The adventure began with a week long orientation with 200+ other Teach-in-Thailand participants in Bangkok. We spent hours in language and education classes, getting to know each other, and exploring the city all while trying to recover from jet lag. Not an easy task. This was one of many reminders that I am getting old. Most of the others in the program are fresh out of college and spent all of their nights out clubbing and drinking. It took me the full week to get back on my feet! I'm also very much a homebody.  Knowing I would be here for awhile I was more than happy to spend some of my evenings reading, watching Thai soap operas (and creating my own plots and dialogue), and trying to process all the information we'd been given.

I lucked out having a roommate who was much of the same mind so we bonded but we did venture out on several occasions to explore the nearby neighborhood, get lost in an outdoor market or two and experiment with some of the crazy and amazing food sold on the streets. All in all Bangkok (at least the parts I saw) is just a big, dirty city. There is an overabundance of traffic and noise and people and chaos. I can only handle that sort of manic pace in very small doses and it didn't help my poor overwhelmed mind process through all of the changes and information overload and culture shock it was dealing with. But as the week progressed and I came to realize truly that I was here to live, not just visit, and the jet lag subsided a bit I found more and more to delight in and discover and things that reminded me of home or other places I've visited. Here's a sampling:

Crazy, fun food at every turn (much more on the food to come!)
Spirit Houses in front of nearly every building (more on these later as well)
Bright pink taxis
Endless stalls and markets selling everything you can imagine
Strange new plants and bugs
Plus: 7-11 Convenience stores on every corner, countless stray dogs everywhere, monsoon-like rainstorms, entire families crowded onto a single motorbike, fresh pineapple and watermelon at every meal, getting the hang of having the steering wheel on the right and driving on the left, and so much more! You're going to get awfully tired of hearing about it all. Or you'll love it and want to come see it for yourselves.  I suggest the latter. I've got a spare bed all ready for you visit!

1 comment:

  1. I miss seeing the your lovely face when I stop at the library, but I'm delighted to read about your adventures. The fresh melon sounds delightful. Please have a slice for me!