I definitely had my doubts once I got to my house at school and saw where I will be living for the next 6 months. It’s hot, bugs are everywhere, geckos are climbing all over the walls, fire ants are littering the bathroom floor, I don’t know how to teach, it’s hot, and it’s hot. I sat in my room and was more lonely than I ever felt in my entire life. I have all these people around and willing to help me, but I feel so alone. I don’t have my significant other to lean on whenever I feel sad or uncomfortable, no one to hold me and tell me everything is okay and I can do this, I just have myself. And that is all part of the journey. I am my own superhero, I just need to find that inner strength when I’m feeling low. I won’t sugar coat it, I’ve already had a couple teary calls home questioning my loved ones if I truly have the courage to do this.
But give me a good 12 hour nights sleep, 6 liters of water and a day full of activities, and my mind takes a 180. I woke up slowly, forgetting where I was for a second, and then the empty dirty pale blue walls reminded me. My heart ached for a moment missing my loved ones, and I was able to call both my mother and my boyfriend. I felt stronger after some words of encouragement and support, and confided in my housemate as well (poor Monique is already well aware of how anxious/emotional/needy I am). She asked if I wanted to go to a hotel and use the pool and free wifi, then head to the super mall in town. Stoked on this idea we head out around 11am calling a cab to the Imperial Hotel where we are able to use their fitness center and pool for an entire day for 100 baht (roughly 3 USD). I used the wifi and felt more connected to my life back home than I have in a week. Posting a bagillion photos and sending emails to loved ones took up about 2 hours. After, I cooled my skin in the pristine pool cornered by four white elephant statues spouting water out of their trunks. It was a refreshing, “I am in THAILAND, I am really SO lucky” moment. We had the pleasure of meeting another Chiang Rai CIEE teacher, Rachel, who works at a nearby school and is good friends with my housemate Monique. She had a lot of good advice about getting over the initial shock of the first couple weeks/month being in Thailand and how that anxiousness fades and you become so much more comfortable.
Can I bring this pool with me everywhere?
After the hotel we walk in the roasting sun to a near by café, Chivit Thammada. This place is the cutest damn thing I have seen in Thailand yet. It looks almost out of place covered in lush green vines and filled with pastel tea cups and plates surrounded by books (in English!) of travel and photography. I felt transported to a London teashop. The delicious and crisp lychee-peach Iced tea I ordered came with a side of syrup (pretty sure it was just straight fructose) to add more sweetness, as if it wasn’t already sweet enough. I ordered a chicken Caesar salad and cherished every bite. It’s been hard finding salads not beginning with “spicy mango” in Thailand so far. It was seriously the most delicious salad I’ve ever had. Everyone in the café spoke impressively good English, and we had no problem communicating, they even called a taxi for us to go to the Central Plaza mall.
Peach-Lychee Iced Tea
Inside the cafe
The mall gave us more air conditioned salvation and a plethora of items I needed to make home feel a little more comfortable. I stocked up on clothing, granola bars, hooks, a hamper basket, and another fan for my room to name a few. I ordered Pad Thai noodles in an omelette and devoured it. My stomach has been very happy with me today, drinking a ton of water and no spicy food has proven successful.
Pad Thai in an omelette, and yes it's better than anything you can get in America.
Tonight I sit in my bed feeling almost like a different person from last night. I am still absolutely terrified about what I’m doing and don’t think I’ll ever get used to showering in a sticky dirty ant infested box and squat toilets, but I feel a lot more confident in my path. I also seriously just don’t understand how the Thai’s can handle this heat. The heat index today said it felt like 106 for most of the day, and the air is so moist it feels like you are swimming through it. And I’m witnessing locals wearing puffy vests and hoodies! Am I going crazy and hallucinating? Maybe it’s the heat. Time to spray my body with bug spray 4 times and go to bed. Goodnight.