Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Land Of No Laws

It is official. I have lasted a whole month in Thailand. Time is already feeling like it is flying by, and in order for me to remember this place, I have been writing down random things that I learn or see. Here are a few I wanted to share:

1. Thailand is a lawless land. "There are rules but there are no laws." I figured this out very, very quickly.
        Drink on the street.
        Drive on the wrong side of the road if and when all is clear. Or maybe even when all is not clear.
        Nurses wear gloves? Why would they do such a thing?
        Pile a family of 4 onto a motor bike and don't have anyone wear a helmet. Not even the four-year old.
        Overcharge the farangs (foreigners, aka me) for anything and everything, and take advantage of them whenever possible.

2. Ordering food can be difficult.  There is a lot of pointing involved in that, while hoping that what you end up with tastes good. Luckily it always is great and I don't think I've had a bad meal since I've been here. Except the time I was told that I was eating blood and I did not know I was eating blood. Stearing clear of that from now on. A couple of important words to know, mainly the only couple that I have mastered because they are staples:
        Goong- Shrimp
        Guy- Chicken
At our market, we are branching out and going for new things all the time. I love dinner time and I am obsessed with the food here. Pad thai, papaya salad, and seafood everywhere you look.
Pad thai, dinner at least two nights a week. My favorite!

3. I strip out of my work clothes as soon as my feet hit my bedroom door everyday and put on shorts and a tank top. My air conditioning goes on as soon as I can find the remote. The past two days have been the most brutal since I have arrived. Extremely humid, as if I was in Orlando in July. But it is almost December. The confusion for me is never ending because how on earth could it be this hot in December?! The Thai people still think it's cold and my students wear zip ups in class all of the time. I should send them to New York where it is the opposite extreme! My mom just told me that they have a 2 hour delay today! As hot as it is here I cannot say it enough.. I am happy to skip winter this year!

4. In order to show respect here, we wai (pronounced as the letter, y) instead of shake hands. This means that I put my hands together and bow my head to people higher up than me, and also to Thai teachers. There are different ways to wai, depending on the status of the person, but I have yet to become an expert on that. Honestly, I get so many new cultural things thrown at me a day that I may never get the wai down pat.

5. 7-11. The other day my coworker was telling me how to get a bus that is close to the 7-11. I assumed she meant my 7-11 but then realized that she could be talking about any six between my house and hers, which is only a 15 minute walk. 7-11 is found on no lie, every three blocks. In Laos, it was almost unsettling that there was no 7-11 to be found. We buy alcohol there (liquor too), 'top up' our cell phones when we run out of minutes, buy any kind of strange packaged food that can be heated up there, and can find any other random thing you can squeeze into a tiny corner store. I just had my first 2 am toastie experience last weekend, and I hate to say that it will not be my last. Oh, and 7-11 is open 24 hours so I really can't go wrong. Wow, never thought I would choose 7-11 to be one of the things to rave about in Thailand.
A typical Thai 7-11

6. Holidays. We obviously do not have Thanksgiving off, but I also have the displeasure of working on Christmas this year. Working on Christmas and the weather will be 95 degrees. I can't imagine it actually feeling like Christmas, but the other foreign teachers and I will cross that bridge when we get there.
The reason we have to work.. The majority of the Thai population is Buddhist. They may have adopted some of our holiday traditions here and there, but Christmas is not recognized as a national holiday. Guess what we will be doing all day on December 25th? Chirstmas activities of course! I'll be looking to Pinterest for a make-your-own-snow activity. BUT, the English teachers do get to put on a Christmas Show. We were told that we did not have to choose a Christmas song, actually maybe we were encouraged not to. So, what else did my team and I choose for our second graders? The uber-famous American rock song that will forever be the song that is okay to scream at the top of your lungs while out at a bar, no matter if you are 22 or 42.. Don't Stop Believing of course!! Amelia, Sydney, and I are currently working on choreography with the kids. Videos will follow after the show next month because who would not want to see 30 Thai kids rocking out to Journey?!

That's about all I can squeeze out of my brain at the moment. I'm onto grading and brainstorming for Father's Day/the King's Birthday, which is December 5th for them!

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