Goodbye Bangkok, Hello Wangsaipoon District!

I will begin by noting that I am in a positive frame of mind after having spent a number of days in Thailand. This blog, as with most, will focus on the events of the day.

This morning, as with last night, nothing really went on.

I realised that I had shared the bed with two of the teachers from my school. I had been so tired because I had not slept at all the night before that I turned in at around 9pm. The view from the room was stunning, but little happened in the morning. The TV was on and I caught a glimpse of the Thai national anthem and that was that. Soon afterwards we got onto the road, with about half of the country ahead of us. I regretted spending my last night in Bangkok here as I had other friends who I could have seen for longer, and if we had been far away it would have been different. It was a case of so close, yet so far away. So far from the centre of Bangkok that most taxis refused to go!

The journey to Phichit was pretty long- but it went by quickly as I slept most of the way. I learnt a couple of new words. It was strange falling asleep in Bangkok and waking up in a very rural part of Thailand filled with rice paddies, wooden houses and trees everywhere. It is so green and beautiful, but quite clearly the rainy season.

I’m sitting in my accommodation now- it’s almost 8pm. I arrived early on- around 3pm- to the school. Some of the students helped me move my bags up into the house. I was going to do it myself, but teacher Tim (my mentor) commanded me to let them do it. There are already two female teachers from the Philippines who work here; they are just sitting in the shared room listening to some music. It is very hot right now and I’m sitting in my little “net room”. Basically my room is a space inside a net with a tiny little table and a bed. We have a “kitchen” too, but there is nothing in it except from a drying rack, so I’ll be using the school’s kitchen during the day to make meals. Amusingly the floor has got plastic Winnie the Pooh stuff so I don’t walk straight on the wood. I can hear crickets outside, Tagalog (Pilipino language), a song in English and my fingers furiously typing away. I’m feeling quite ok, quite mellow but somewhat isolated and wanting a bit of contact with people who can speak English. However, I will be the first to admit that the reason I came here was not to hang out with other people just like me.

Earlier on I was assertive enough to ask for a lock on my door and the money for the first month upfront. I haven’t mentioned this before but I have had quite some trouble in Thailand because I had my bag stolen (with all of my money, my wallet, my ID cards, my bank cards, my camera and more importantly my passport and visa). It has just been troublesome trying to get by depending on the kindness of strangers and relying on people to lend me when I don’t even know when I can give it back to them! I felt particularly bad (but touched) that one of the others lent me 5000Baht (which is how much we earn in a month) and I can’t even give it back any time soon. (But will, you know who you are!).

When we had been pottering around the house a bit, with more than 10 people in it (it is not large) at some points we headed off to the market in Phichit. It is actually quite far away and took at least 30 minutes to get there in the car. When we were leaving the school gates I was amazed to see four school kids on one motorcycle. Apparently you don’t have to be a certain age to ride one, you just need access to it. It poured the whole way to town.

I was told before I came to Thailand that if your mentor learns what kind of fruit you like, you will suddenly receive a lot of it. Now I know that this is true. I have a fridge full (well half of a shelf full) of Pineapple. This is a bonus. I also have some fruits I have never seen or heard of before, and a couple of vegetable from the market. We had a bit of a trip. It was myself, one of the senior teachers who is a very kind man, one of the girls who is living with me and my Thai mentor who is an English teacher. We call her ‘teacher Tim’, because her last name is Timsri and she doesn’t like her first name.

Thai is a difficult language to get into. The first few days all I really knew were the basics: hello, please, thank you, goodbye. Now, however, I am building up my stock of phrases. When something useful comes up I jot it down in my little notebook. What I have realised though is that most of the phrases I have learnt relate to eating. E.g. Are you hungry? Have you eaten? Was it delicious? are the main ones that come up a lot.

In a minute I will go and sit with the Pilipino teachers, they seem friendly and keen on me eating so I ‘get fat like them’. Hmmm. Anyway, that is all for now. I have quite a lot of time in the evenings so far so I will try to update regularly.

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