Wednesday, September 3, 2014

Day 122 // 11 Things I Wish I Packed (and Didn't Pack) for Teaching in Thailand

In my 4+ months here I've accumulated an astonishing amount of stuff. Good to know my spending habits haven't changed much from leaving the states. I'll take all of the trinkets and clothes and food please.

I've been here long enough to look back on those days before my departure as I scrambled to fit all the things I thought necessary in a backpack and a small suitcase now being much wiser and more practical. Here are the things I wish I had and hadn't brought to Thailand

I wish I brought...

1. An external hard drive: I am very grateful that my boyfriend snuck an external harddrive into my purse before I boarded the plane. It's been a sanctuary for all the movies and photos I've collected in my time here since I've spent an unnatural amount of time on my computer at this job with all of it's "free time." So this would be something I would have definitely bought here if I wasn't surprised with one.

2. A rain jacket: Little did I know when it rains in Thailand, IT RAINS. No messing around. I thought coming from the Seattle area I could brush off the incessant rain I've dealt with just the same in Thailand. So, so wrong. It doesn't just rain here. It friggin pours. Especially during the aptly named Rainy Season. I've been rocking the 30 baht rain poncho from 7/11 the past couple months (yes it's disgusting) and wish I brought a jacket instead. But now I'm too stubborn to buy one with 2 months left.

3. A small(ish) backpack: Most of the getting around is a pain with my giant Mary Poppins purse (espcially on a motorbike), but then my huge travel backpack screams FARANG and I have found I don't like being isolated as a temporary tourist when I go places. I live here! I'm different right?
I bought a backpack at the market but it's not the best quality and I'm just waiting for the day the straps break and my computer goes flying down the highway.

I wish I didn't bring....

1. Hair appliances: I haven't "done" my hair in 4 months and I'm surviving just fine. Going from curling or straightening my hair nearly everyday to nothing has been surprisingly liberating. The frizz and unmanageability will humble you and astonishingly make you very low maintenance. Same with make up, I brought a small bag and all I've really used in 4 months is mascara.

2. Excessive amounts of teaching material: Like my other blog post stated, I printed out nearly 900 pages of ESL exercises, have touched one page of it in my semester here, and feel responsible for killing probably 20 trees. Come prepared, but not that prepared.

3. Chopsticks and straws: This is a weird one but my doctor scared the crap out of my when she said do NOT trust any straws or utensils they give you in Thailand because you WILL get a viscious disease. So I packed chopsticks and straws to carry around with me every time I bought food? Weird decision, Amy...

I'm glad I brought...

1. My Smartphone (and charger): many people in OEG decided to buy a temporary phone (provided at OEG orientation) while staying in Thailand, but I've found having my iPhone (unlocking it - which was very simple), getting a Thai SIM card, and buying data every month (only about $15 each month) has been a wonderful decision. It's kept me close in contact with my loved ones at home. This is totally personal, but it was an important decision for me and I'm glad I made it.

2. My laptop: This seems like a no brainer, but I couldn't imagine lesson planning on the school's computer or even existing without my laptop. Partially necessary, partially my generation's attachment to technology. Oh well.

3. My DSLR Camera: Pretty obvious but do yourself a favor and bring a camera of any sorts. You'll want to remember as much as you can and you will have the images for a lifetime. Also, I've found a whole new love of photography while here and I can thank this experience for nurturing that creativity.

4. My own work clothes from home: Many people had a hard time with finding appropriate and "polite" attire for being a teacher, and I somehow managed to bring the right amount of clothing that was perfect for teaching. 2 floor length cotton skirts, white button down linen shirts, light cotton blouses that don't show pit stains (even if you aren't a sweaty person like me, you will become one).

5. For the ladiez - Menstrual Cup (or Tampons): Sorry if this makes anyone uncomfortable but the reality of being a woman is what it is. Tampons are outrageously expensive and hard to find in Thailand, so I brought a sustainable cup that has been a life saver, and a one time purchase. And for those of you women not down to try one of these, try and bring as many tampons as you can shove in your suitcase. Or have your family mail them to you.. it's probably cheaper anyways.

The reality of living in Thailand is that you can buy nearly anything you want here, or have buy it online, or have a loved one send it to you. These are just my own personal opinions on my time here, and what has become important for me.

Any questions? --->

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