I thought I would be blogging all the time once I got to Thailand: there would be pictures to share, stories to tell, and ridiculously poetic descriptions to write.
I’m not really sure why I was thinking this would be the case. To spend my free time with my nose glued to my computer screen is very unlike me, because if I have free time, of course, it is stuck in a book instead!
One of the millions of things I love about Thailand is all the free time I have to read (more on what I’ve read below). Soaking up the sun, reading travel-food memoirs while eating the dishes they describe, reading stories of adventure while riding a very “Thai” bus to my next destination; I am in heaven!
The first six weeks in Thailand have been everything I could have hoped for. Pictures at the bottom and on Flickr (see right).
The first night: Bangkok. We pretty much tackled everything there is to do when you only have one night in Bangkok. It was a whirlwind and I can’t wait to have more than 24 hours to see the city.
The first month: Hua Hin. A great place to get acclimated to a completely new lifestyle and shout out to XA TESOL Dec. ’15 for making that happen. I tried my best to run through every dish on the menu, learn and converse in Thai as much as possible, meet and smile at as many people as I could, and make new friends to travel with in the future. I would say it was a success!! After about one day I knew I wouldn’t want to say goodbye to Thailand any time soon.
The rest: Sukhothai. We got lucky in every way possible, our placement in Sukhothai has been incredible and really easy to settle in to. Sukhothai is a great sized town: there are sights to see, tons of people to meet, yet the Pad See Ew vendor will still recognize you when you come for dinner two nights in a row.
I am teaching in a high school, grades M1 and M3 (basically 12-13 and 15-16 – ish), and it is a definition free-for-all. We are at a huge school, about 3,000 or so kids, 12 foreign English teachers from around the world, and plenty of stray dogs to keep us company. My kids are crazy, straight up. Raising your hand while sitting quietly is not a thing, neither is asking to leave the classroom or saying excuse me when you interupt while the teacher is talking. Regardless of all of that, seeing a kid write 10 sentences about travelling to Paris when I asked for 3 about what they want to do this summer makes it all worth. I have plenty of kids who cannot speak English at all, balanced out by a few who are going to the states for a 10 month exchange in August. These first few weeks have been a challenge, but one that is worth every minute.
Up next: I have over 600 books on my Goodreads list, how am I supposed to choose? Oh wait, Thailand. We will be on summer break from mid-March to the beginning of May and the list of places to see is getting longer. A few places I am most excited for, Koh Tao, Chiang Mai, and Pai. I can’t wait to travel without a schedule, just seeing where the wind blows me. I’m not rushing anything, I have fully transitioned to “Thai time”.
More on reading in my next post, but here is what I’ve tackled in the last six weeks:
- All 7 Harry Potter books – I started re-reading the series on the plane from Chicago. Nothing like travelling with an old friend.
- The Kindness of Strangers, The Wander Year, and The Distance Between by Mike McIntyre – staying with the travel theme.
- Room by Emma Donaghue – thanks Hunter for the recommendation, great read.
- A Moveable Feast by Don George – again, the travel theme.
Thank you Thailand for being everything I hoped you would be. And more.