I can tell that we are gonna be friends
Wow, what a whirlwind these past couple of weeks have been. Time is flying by at the speed of light and I'm certain that if time were physical it would be one vibrant blur. As crazy as it seems it still hasn't really hit me yet that I just moved across the world to an entirely different continent...maybe it never will. To be honest it just feels meant to be, each new and exciting day feels a little less like a dream and a little more like reality (although I do still have to pinch myself every now and then.) Having this goal of mine finally realized after two years of being afraid to make the leap feels so fulfilling. Everything just feels so right, timing included. The friends I have made already feel like family, and I feel so blessed to be in my quiet little town of Suphan Buri. This is the first moment since I have been here that I've had the time to sit still by myself, clear my mind, and let the weight of the events of the past few weeks sink in. At this very moment I feel overcome with emotion, my eyes are welling up with tears of pure gratitude. To be here is a privilege that I will never take for granted. I'm not sure if it's the solemn Indie music I have playing in the background as I write, or the storm brewing outside my windows, or the many tea lights I have lit and thoughtfully placed around my new room, but I am sure it is a combination of it all that lends itself to this overwhelming sense of peace and purpose that I feel.
Now that I've covered the deep stuff it's only fair that I share some of the lighthearted realizations I've had since I've made it to Thailand. For my fellow ESL teachers and travelers alike, I am sure you will find one or more of these extremely relatable, for the rest of you reading this I hope you find these tidbits as entertaining as I do.
1.) Explosive deuces
If you have never experienced the hilarious yet utterly disgusting feeling of a shart, chances are more than likely you will find yourself cracking up alone (or horrified if you lack a sick sense of humor) inside a bathroom stall one day while disposing of your soiled undergarments. If you're one of the lucky ones whose stomach is slightly more well-adjusted to the spices of thai cuisine, chances are you will still experience the hershey squirts on a regular basis. Moral of the story, if you feel a fart coming on DON'T LET IT RIP (or you may end up with a splat.)
Expanding on that thought, if you do experience the rumblings down under you'd better have a roll of toilet paper with you because it is pretty much non-existent here. Luckily pretty much all bathrooms are equipped with a handy dandy bum gun (basically a water hose that blasts your bunghole until it's clean...think of it as a ghetto bidet.) Hopefully if you've got a number two in the works there's a western style toilet nearby or you may find yourself squatting over a hole in the ground closer to your feces than you ever imagined possible.
Never have I seen more 7/11's in my life, and never have I been more excited to have one around every corner (or sometimes even one right next to another.) I am a 7/11 fan girl. Not only is it the perfect place to get a ham and cheese toastee at 2 in the morning (if you know, you know), or a delicious fruit smoothie, it's also the place where most thais pay their bills. Trust me when I say you haven't really experienced 7/11 until you've been to a 7/11 in Asia. I love you 7/11.
Coming from Florida I figured the heat here would be no big deal, after all I am from the sunshine state. WRONG. I have never drank more water in my life. Any water you consume is pretty much instantly sweat out the second it hits your innards. Drinking 3-4 liters of water per day soon becomes the bare minimum. Dehydration is no joke. Also, be prepared to look like you walked straight into the shower with your clothes on within seconds of stepping out into the sun, that's no exaggeration.
5.) Loyal Liva
Being that Thai is a tonal language, communication can often be a real challenge. You will find yourself more often than not pronouncing English words in what seems like an entirely inappropriate and racist Thai accent, but it is quite literally the only way non-English speaking Thais will understand what you are saying.
If you are a crazy animal lover like myself, the many stray cats and dogs that you find roaming through the streets is both awesome and heart wrenching. I wish I could stop to pet every animal that crosses my path but it's probably not the best idea to risk being bit by what could be a disease ridden critter (monkeys included.) The temptation is strong, and the struggle is real.
7.) No paparazzi please
I never Imagined I would be famous, and obviously I am not, but sometimes it does feel like I am some sort of celebrity. The farther from Asian you look, the more likely it is that you will be stopped and asked for a picture, or even more likely that people will start snapping pictures of you without your permission.
8.) Say whaaaat?
Get used to seeing a lot of typos on English signage and phrases on clothing that make zero to no sense. To be fair, I guess it's the equivalent of the white chick we all know with the Chinese tattoo that says"love" but actually translates to banana.
9.) Thai nicknames
Probably my favorite aspect of Thai culture thus far. Thais have names that are often ridiculously long and difficult to pronounce so it is commonplace for Thai people to be called by their nickname which is given to them by their parents. Some of my favorites:
10.) Land of Smiles
I have only been in Thailand a few short weeks, but I can already say with full confidence that I am in love with this country. I am in love with it's natural beauty, it's delicious food, but most of all with it's genuine and kindhearted people. It is no wonder why the people here are proud to be Thai. I feel so lucky to now call Thailand my home.