I’M HERE!! This will be my first blog post of many, as I try to cram everything that I have done in only a few hundred words. I will try to do it on a weekly basis, at least for my first few weeks in Bangkok. Once I am placed at my school, they may become more infrequent due to the monotony of my schedule.
So initially to fly over here, I was scheduled to fly Cincinnati-Chicago-Tokyo-Bangkok through United. I always have flown Delta, so I was a little apprehensive to go United and I had good reason to. When I arrived at the airport and went through security at 6 am Thursday morning, United emailed me stating that my flight out of Chicago was delayed six hours. This meant I would miss my connecting flight in Tokyo by four hours, naturally causing me to freak out. I resolved the situation by rescheduling my flight from Cincinnati to Dulles; however, this flight then became delayed almost two hours, causing me to sprint through Dulles to catch my flight to Tokyo with literally minutes to spare! Thirteen hours later, I arrived in Tokyo and immediately caught my six hour flight to Bangkok. 21 hours of travel time is no joke people!
My fellow ETA’s (English Teaching Assistants) and I arrived at our international dorm at Chulalongkorn University in Bangkok, which is reportedly the best university in Thailand. I’m sharing a tiny room with one of my fellow ETA’s, Polly, and thank Jesus we have AC in our room, because it sounds like very few of us will once we report to our schools in the countryside. The weather in Thailand is super consistent, with the high being 90 everyday with 100% humidity and chance of rain. And when it rains, it pours!
This week, we all started orientation, which is basically our introduction to Thai culture and teaching English as a second language. So far we have met with members of the Ministry of Education, the U.S. Embassy, English students and faculty of the university, as well as our predecessors, the current Fulbright ETA’s. Since I am teaching at a new school in the South (see my Author page for more information!), I do not have a predecessor and have unfortunately missed out on any information about living arrangements, the school, community, teaching, etc. That being said, other Fulbrighters have tried to fill in the gaps of knowledge with their experience and suggestions, which has helped enormously.
So now let’s talk about food. Because priorities. The food here is fantastic and dirt cheap. I do not believe I have spent more than 80 Baht on a meal, which is a little more than two dollars. Due to being a pescatarian, most of what I’m eating is noodles/rice, vegetables, shellfish, egg and fruit. I love this diet, but I do not think I’ve been eating as much as I should due to smaller portion sizes here and my workout schedule (yes, I’m still running, lifting, martial arts-ing and yoga-ing!). Here are some examples of what I have eaten so far:
Also the fruit smoothies here are fantastic! I had my first one last Sunday after coming back from a demanding hot yoga class (because, let’s be honest, any yoga you do in Thailand is going to be hot!). We went to an open market with a small smoothie stand and I got a peach, mango, and pineapple smoothie. All they put in it was the frozen fresh fruit and water, but I think it was the best smoothie I have ever had!
Since it’s been a little over a week in Thailand and the jetlag has finally worn of, we decided to do a lot of exploring and sightseeing thing weekend. On Saturday, we went to the Grand Palace and Wat Pho. The Grand Palace was built in 1782 and was used by the king, his court, and the royal government until the early 1900’s. It’s more of a tourist attraction now, but it is still used for official state events and ceremonies. Wat Pho is a famous Buddhist where the giant Reclining Buddha resides. It is huge! The architecture for both of these places is very similar, but either way, they are both amazing and definitely worth seeing! Here are some pictures below:
Finally, today, we went to a Husky Café. Yes, you read that correctly. You literally come to the café and pay 350 Baht, get a free coffee and cake of choice, and then get to play with huskies for an hour. This might have been the best part of Bangkok so far. If you can’t tell by the pictures I absolutely loved it and made some new friends :)
We also went to the JJ Market, which is the biggest outdoor market in Southeast Asia (or so I’ve been told). They have clothing, food, animals, honestly anything you can think of. I will definitely come back for clothes and souvenir shopping, but not to the animal part. Most of the animals were exotic and cooped up in small cages, so there was definitely some illegal trading going on there and I’m not a fan of that at all. Nonetheless, my first week in Bangkok has been quite an adventure! I will keep you all updated on the next week or so!