Thailand!! I’m bubbling over. To the point that creating full sentences right now seems like FAR too much work. So here’s the stream of consciousness recap:
Got here Thursday. I have true difficulty remembering life before then. It feels like I’ve been in Thailand forever.
Had a layover in Taipei, Taiwan on the way here. Accidentally pushed the “Panic” button instead of “Flush” in the handicapped restroom stall. Alarms sounded throughout the airport. I stealthily exited and caught the nearest bus.
Met wonderful new friends. Three of us arrived a few days before orientation and stayed at the fabulous “Nasa Vegas” hotel in Bangkok. Use your imagination, and then know that it was $13 / night. (It just got better, didn’t it?)
Just finished day three of a six day orientation with OEG here in Bangkok with 65 of my fellow teachers. We’ve learned enough Thai to get us started and a few teaching techniques to get us through our first day (let’s hope!). And actually, it’s doing our coordinators an injustice to describe that so briefly. I’ve been beyond impressed with the orientation. I feel so supported, in the true sense of the word.
Carol, one of our fellow teachers, led a yoga class by the pool at our hotel on Sunday. It was SO needed, and appreciated. Note to self – get a yoga mat here! Though the gravelly knees were completely worth it.
I am struck by the open, kind, gracious people of Thailand. Yesterday I noticed that we (our group of teachers) are starting to reflect this. We’re walking more slowly. And smiling, making eye contact. The difference is small, but noticeable.
Last night our program coordinators held a welcome ceremony for all of the incoming teachers. After describing the history of this ritual, candles were lit and sweets were handed out to the group. Then we were all invited up to receive a blessing from our coordinators — which meant we knelt down in front of them, greeted them with a wai, and they gave us a blessing. They tied a small white string on our wrist, a physical reminder of support we carry with us as we go forward. This ceremony, and gesture, was unexpected and wonderful! It reminds me how often we forget to do this, consciously and deliberately, in our lives. To simply say: I support you. I wish you a grand adventure in life.
Today, we took a break from TEFL/language classes and ventured out to see the Grand Palace and the Emerald Buddha, and on Thursday we’re off to Kanchanaburi province for a field trip. Rumor has it that there may be elephant riding involved. Twist my arm.
Oh, the food!! Mango, coconut, spicy everything, rice, rice noodles, curry, lemongrass, cilantro. It’s unbelievably good. And it’s all available at a food stall for 30 Baht. ($1.00) Splurge on a large Chang beer or a meatball on a stick, and your grand total MIGHT be three bucks.
So, Thailand, you are a delight. I feel so lucky to be here. I will report back again on my first day of teaching, which should be next week. We’ll be leaving our little orientation bubble and I suspect there will be MUCH to write about. Until then, Sawatdee kha!