Friday, November 1, 2013

10-21-13 Looking Up

     Before you read, there are a few things you should keep in mind for this post. There are random thoughts that pop up in my head, and with no rhyme or reason, they’re all just thrown here. I made my best attempt to label each section (Shopping, Negative Things, Lazy Info About Impact, and Random Bad Things About My School). As you can tell, they’re not really related to each other at all. But it’s 4 AM here, so you’ll have to cut me some slack.

     Today, I went and met a fellow colleague and new friend by the Amazon Cafe in our area. This only came about because Pook (the HiValue representative that we have in case of anything and who also connects us to our school) texted me while I was in the Central Mall yesterday and I texted back telling that I was afraid and having a lot of trouble. 
     Pook’s husband, Noom, first treated us to a drink--I ordered a hot green tea with milk, which was not the best, but at least it was “free.” He then took us to a bookstore because I had stressed to Pook how I wanted to learn the Thai language. I ended up buying a book for about $11 (expensive in Thai baht!), and I hope to really study it and maybe even learn to read some Thai. I actually also brought along a Cantonese DVD from Chicago, so when I pick up some Thai, I can then try to focus on Cantonese.
     I ended up spending the whole day with my new friend, Gina, and another one of the first grade teachers, Shoua. (Pronounced Shu-ah; she’s Hmong.) I visited Gina’s home and asked a huge load of questions; I now have some ideas of what I will do with my room. First, of course, I’ll have to rid it of the cockroaches and spiders, scrub the floor clean so I can maybe walk around barefoot, and get new sheets. I also want to add color to my room because right now it is pretty plain with its yellow-and-brown-ness. Maybe some stringed lights, some pretty rugs... I don’t know yet.
     We visited a cafe together by taking a songtaew (something that’s like a cross between a taxi and a very bad and tiny bus), and I ended up buying some chocolate chip cookies which made me very happy. *Note: I like traveling in the songtaew--I was just trying to give a description.* We then walked to Thai Mart, which is structurally like an Office Depot, but sells all different types of things like a dollar store or a Walmart/Target. We also visited a giant Tesco Lotus (my first time because I always visit the little Tesco Express!) where I purchased a coffeemaker so I can continue to hard-boil eggs and make not-so-ghetto ramen. It was only about $7!
     We headed to Big C Mart to check for sheets. I found a set which I liked, but we ended up not buying it. Basically, every first and last Sunday, one of our streets is overtaken by a huge market that sells EVERYTHING; my friends told me to wait until they came to town before changing the sheets I currently have on my bed.
     We ate tiramisu (which did not taste that good) and then headed back to our market (the flea market) to a 20 baht store. It’s similar to a dollar store, except everything is 20 baht and I ended up buying quite a lot of things.

My list because it’s very important that you know about everything I’m buying: 
  • A bowl (yay! No more ghetto ramen!)
  • A plate (you never know! I’ll put my eggs in this.)
  • 2 cups (one for the bathroom, one for drinking water and juice)
  • 3 small bowls (soap, food, and whatever else I might need it for)
  • 1 soap holder (my soap was originally resting in its paper wrapping... really difficult to use)
  • 1 garbage can (finally... I have random bags with garbage in my studio)
  • 1 laundry basket (my dirty clothes now have a place where they belong)
  • 1 fork + 1 spoon (I have chopsticks, but this will help me a little with soup and other foods)
  • 10 hangers (yes! my clothes now have a home)
  • Dish rack (dry, silverware, dry!)
  • Tissue (apparently, my school will not provide this in the bathroom, so this is what I’ll have to carry all the time)
  • A towel (this one’s so soft! maybe it’ll just end up being in my bathroom, even though I originally meant for it to be in the kitchen)

     Also, in my apartment building, you can fill a giant water jug for only a few baht, so that’s a relief. I assumed that I just had to keep buying new water jugs every single time I needed more water. To put it mathematically, if I had to buy a water jug every few days, I’d be spending about $2.50 each time. However, with the water refilling station in our building, I’d only have to pay $1.33 MAYBE each time, depending on how much water I’d need.
     I also meant to type this before, and I know this is very drastic and horrible to even make, but here goes!

Negative Things
Top Ways That Thailand is Deadly to Jen
  1. Dengue Fever (carried by mosquitoes and makes you feel like your bones are breaking)
  2. Animals and Bugs (dogs scratching me, petting random animals, jellyfish stings, etc.  I’m being eaten alive!!!)
  3. Dehydration (I already didn’t drink a lot of water in America. Trying to change this habit though.)
  4. Getting lost (I have no idea where I am, EVER. Seriously. Even when I look at a map and it says “You Are Here.”)
  5. Kidnaps (If my internet works in my room, the chances of this will be reduced by 100%.)
  6. Bug Spray Poisoning (I sprayed my entire room, forgot that I needed to breathe it for a few hours, and didn’t quite forget the story of my friend using that same spray just a little bit and accidentally killing a gecko. What is in that spray???)
  7. Anorexia (Today showed me eating the most I’ve eaten since I’ve reached Thailand.  It’s been a month. My body is craving things like vegetables and fruits because I seriously have not eaten a lot of anything since coming here. It was satisfied after our dinner of vegetables though.)
  8. Strange Men (Mostly foreign white men, like that guy Mark.)
  9. Cars (It helps to come from Chicago where we jay-walk all the time because in Thailand, you just cross and force cars to stop. Oh, I’m sorry, I mean force cars to PAUSE.)
  10. Withdrawal Symptoms (INTERNET, WHERE ART THOU?!)
  11. Clogged Arteries (I’m sometimes stuffing fat in my body like there’s no tomorrow because I just don’t have the time or the napkins to tear fat off of the meat I’m eating. Also, because I eat so little, I probably need some fat, so I eat it despite how much it makes me cringe.)
  12. Muy Thai (A Thai person might sock me in the face just because.)

Lazy Info About Impact
     A little about Impact: every week, there is some new event. There are concerts and/or different things going on, like car, sports, dog, and health shows. There are apparently even things like OTOP, which displays exports from each area of Thailand and each region’s traditional attire. It sounds really amazing and interesting!

Random Bad Things About My School
Some things I learned about our school and the injustice that takes place within:
  • Foreign teachers from America are paid almost 3x the salary of regular Thai teachers and Filipinos that come from the Philipines
  • American teachers are allowed to leave the school during lunch time; nobody else is allowed to
  • American teachers have their own special food and can’t really eat with any other teachers.
  • American teachers work from 7:30 to 4:30. Thai teachers work until 5:00 or 5:30. Filipino teachers work until maybe 5:30. 
  • American teachers can choose their attire as long as it is appropriate. All other teachers must wear uniforms.

     You can see why the Thai teachers resent American teachers. I originally thought that I would have been able to befriend some Thai teachers and really gotten to know them, but due to the segregation, my friends said that we can only ever be polite acquaintances. 

The view outside of my window. This is looking down at the
covering for the 7-11, Tesco Lotus, food court of food stands
pictured in a previous blog, and the flea market that's in the
center of it the square.

I just have to cross that street. That's all. EASY access to
all the food I could ever want for under $2! :D

Looking past the square at other buildings.

My home C4! When I say it to Thai people, it sounds the same
because to say 4 in Thai, it's "sii." C-sii!

I am surrounded by many complexes like this! I live
on the 9th floor of mine.

I don't know how to turn this sideways, but oh 
well... this is looking up at one of the complexes.

Every building has little shops all around it downstairs. Even
if the food court closes at 9, you can always come downstairs
and buy some food. Granted, you must know some Thai, so
I haven't even tried yet. I am right next to a fruit stand though :)

My first omelet here! I filled it with mushrooms and it was 
sooooo delicious! :)

That's where I order omelets from :)

     But anyway, things are really looking up. It’s as if I was stuck in a dark place, suffocating and gasping for air, clawing at the walls enclosing me for the first few days. Now, though, as I look up, it's as if someone is chiseling away at everything keeping me caged in and sunshine is streaming in. :) I’m looking up, my next 5.5 months is looking up, and I’m even excited to visit Impact, our exhibition hall, to see different events.

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