Monday, October 28, 2013

getting settled

After our little field trip to the jungle we had our final presentations and last minute advice from the group leaders before the 4 hour bus ride to head back to Bangkok to meet our school representatives. Since my school was so far north our representatives weren’t at our hotel, rather we were given cab money to get to the bus station for an overnight trip with our reps meeting us at the local bus station the next morning. There’s one other girl from the program teaching at the same school I am so we hung out in the lobby for a few hours before being whisked away on a terrifying taxi ride in the rain, going a mile an hour one minute, 75 the next, up one-way roads the wrong direction, listening to our driver cruse and mutter under his breath nearly the entire way, convinced it was because he was lost and we were never going to make it to our destination! We did finally get there with about an hour to spare to watch Thai soap operas before loading onto the buses at 11 pm for what we were told would be about a 7 hour journey.

Seventeen hours later we finally made it to our destination! No one is entirely sure what took so long. There was rain and considerable traffic heading out of Bangkok but nothing that should have nearly tripled our time. The bus was a nice one, with private video screens and plenty of leg room and cabin service just like an airplane, which was good since we were stuck on it for longer than I was on my flight to Tokyo. What we, in America, would answer with much cussing and threats of lawsuits, the Thais dismissed with one of their ubiquitous smiles, a figurative shrug of the shoulders and an utterance of “Mai pen rai”, essentially “it is what it is” or “que sera”. The culture here is much more laid back and forgiving than it is in the States. “Thai time” runs about 20 minutes (give or take an hour) later than the stated time, schedules are often lax suggestions. But the national mood is continually unruffled. Anger is rarely shown. So when we were met at the bus station by one of our co-teachers, a freakishly tall Dutchman, the matter was basically laughed off with a “Welcome to Thailand!”

The rest of the evening was spent taking a trip to Tesco (the European version of a Costco/Walmart baby only better) for sheets, pillows and other supplies and settling into the place I will call home for the next 5 ½ months. There are 3 other girls who teach at Paramin School who are living in the same building as us 2 newbies and they were more than happy to take us shopping and out to dinner on the backs of their motorbikes, the common mode of transport in these parts, and help get our feet back under us that weekend.

It’s been another rough week of adjustments and settling in. More to come!

1 comment:

  1. That sounds kind of ridiculous. 17 hours on a bus? Horror. But at least you made it safe and sound. Settling will take another couple of weeks, but you are, no doubt, taking it in your customary stride. Glad we can stay posted even from afar!