But it's not really hard anymore. The storm has settled and things are proving to be more comfortable.
It's still really freaking hot, but a tad cooler than the week I arrived. 90 degrees now feels like acceptable weather, since it's a cool relief in comparison to the 100+ and NO A/C ANYWHERE from the first couple weeks. I now know how much water to drink so I don't want to kill myself in the sticky, stagnate classrooms. And I've found a new community of people in Chiang Rai to spend time with.
We explored Chiang Rai last weekend since our plans to go to Chiang Mai failed when we didn't buy our bus tickets soon enough. Friday night Rachael and I sought out a restaurant, Lung Eed, that apparently has the best Lop Gai (minced chicken) in the north. Halfway in to our meal, and older man came and chatted with us in broken English. The casual conversation turned into him grabbing a chair and sitting down, and he ordered another beer for us. Not a few moments later he grabbed my arm and told me "You remind me of my daughters!" And insisted that he buy our meal. We tried to politely tell him no, but he made sure he paid. He slammed down a shot of whiskey, walked away slightly toasted, and got in his car after saying goodbye multiple times. It was a moment of pure generosity and kindness, and we got a free meal out of it!
After we ate we wanted to find the Clock Tower and began walking. Our new friend from the restaurant drove past us and honked, then turned around and opened the doors to his car. We caught a ride to the Clock Tower and he let us out, calling us daughters again. Rachael and I found a bar that had a happy hour, but the two beautiful bartenders had no idea how to make anything. Definitely was looking more and more like one of those bars... This didn't stop Rachael and she actually went behind the bar with the short Thai ladies to grab the bottles from the back and show them how to make a Long Island Iced Tea. We enjoyed a few drinks and chatted with the bartenders, and they explained that they have only been working for a couple weeks. Of course...that's why they don't know what a Rum & Coke is...
We walked a few feet to the Peace Bar where we enjoyed live music and the company of other expats who all spoke English. I grabbed the number of the guitar player in hopes to sing with their band in the coming weeks. All of us drank beer in the rasta themed bar and exchanged stories of teaching and advice on traveling. Midnight crept upon us and the bar needed to close. The taxi company wouldn't send a car our way and a local older man, Add, offered to drive us home. He had been playing his guitar the whole night with such dedication he would up breaking a string. He grabbed his wounded guitar and took us home. The amount of love and gratitude the Thai's give is outstanding.
Feeling at home
The school is beginning to feel like a part of me as the days go by. On Wednesday night we walked around campus and ran into all of the students making these beautiful creations out of plants and flowers. They smiled and waved to us as we walked by, and explained they were making offerings to the teachers for tomorrow. Thursday was a teacher appreciation ceremony in which the students offer these beautiful flower creations to the teachers as a thank you and a representation of their knowledge and time in school.
Spending just an hour or so walking around and having them smile for my photos yelling HI TEACHA was one of the most gratifying moments I've had here. It feels so special to be a part of their lives.
Made from individual rose petals.
Dying the flowers.