Monday, June 30, 2014

It feels like I never left

Honestly that is how I feel, like I never left.  While some things have changed, many things are the same and still natural.  And this honestly surprises me a little bit. I tried to stay in touch with people and things in order to feel like nothing has changed, but I guess I assumed it would. For example, I still like the same things. I still remember how to get around places. I still know how to drive a car and choose places to eat.  I still know how to do laundry and wash the dishes ;) And of course I still like finding good deals and shopping at Target!

But there are definitely things that are different. Or things that I have done once and realized are part of my other life.  Also, there are experiences I have had that I have been happy about that make me realize that they are not part of my other life too.  For example, the wind. My parents house has quite the breeze fairly constantly.  I have realized that Chiang Mai has very little wind.  Also the clouds are different, but I only noticed because I thought the clouds were very pretty and a friend looked at me and said... thats normal! Some other things that I have done that arent for this life is attempt to turn down the wrong side of the road - no one was around so dont worry.  I tried to put my arm out to signify that my mom was getting over and I hit the window instead.  I am amazed at all the options of cereal or at McDonalds how vast the menu is.

I find myself happier with strangers too. In Thailand everyone is so nice and welcoming and happy that I have become that way too. I notice that people dont expect it from me here and it is kinda fun.  Also I have realized that when I am in Thailand, "back home" refers to America and when I am in America "back home" refers to Thailand.  That is neat. Experiencing multiple cultures is fun.

Wednesday, June 18, 2014

Travelling and arrival

As I am sure you all know I made it safely to America.  My travelling was fairly uneventful.  I was awake most of the first flight to Seoul and I slept about half of the 13 hours to Toronto.  I was able to happily watch 4 movies on the flights and ate way too much.  Korean Air does not want you to be hungry thats for sure!  

In Toronto I had a good 6 hour layover so I was in no rush.  It was a good thing too because I had a long way to go, to find my connecting gate, and a long line of customs to go through.  I was not prepared to go through customs for the US in Toronto but I did. Thankfully everyone could speak to me in English and give me amazing directions multiple times! It was so nice.  

But then it got a little different.  My flight for Columbus was very small on Air Canada.  My gate was at the not so good part of the airport.  At this one wing of the aiport there were about 6 gates right on top of each other with very limited seating and they all were scheduled to depart about the same time. It was chaos.  Plus, all of the gates went to the same spot so it could have been very confusing.  Every time I began the next step I verified my destination.  Boarding pass - to Columbus right?  Turn towards this plane - to Columbus right?  Sit on the plane - to Columbus right?  My plane was so small that I had to walk on the tarmac (i think its called) to get to the plane.  There were 9 rows with 2 on each side of the aisle. The last row had 5 seats in it with no aisle, similar to a van might!  It was so strange.  

In Columbus, we again had to walk on the tarmac and up the back stairs to reach the normal airport part.  My international travels had not prepared me to not go through customs or to be part of all the other people right away.  I stopped at the bathroom on my way to baggage claim and burned my hands on the surprisingly hot water.  I then kept walking to baggage claim down this long hall.  Coming into view was a man that looked familiar, but I was not anticipating it being my dad!! I thought I still had lots to do before I met my family.  Then I see my mom and brothers behind. It was such a joyous reunion...I sound so silly, but it really was a treasure! 

Anyway, I would have a picture to share with you, of my really small plane, but that brings me to my next point.   Yesterday while out shopping with my mother, I lost my wallet and phone.  I am very bummed about this. I had just gotten a new drivers license on Monday and was going to get my phone reactivated yesterday when I could no longer find it.  I then called my bank and a charge had been made that day that I did not do.  So I suspended my card and filed a police report.  Thankfully I caught it and can get the charge taken away probably.  I'm sad to lose my phone, my nice wallet, and everything but I just have to remember that these things happen sometimes.

Aside from that, being Stateside has been wonderful. I love spending time with my family and helping them move and settle into their beautiful new home.  We have been very busy with that so I think I am over jet-lag!  I didnt really experience it much because I have been so busy and then so exhausted by bedtime.  

Hopefully soon I get a new device so I can take photos to capture my amazing time here and share it with the world! ;)

Saturday, June 14, 2014

Before my departure

Well folks I am about to head to the airport to begin my journey to America.  Honestly I am kinda nervous.  I think it stems from the fact that today wasnt a great day, but sorta a bummer of one.  It rained a fair bit which messed up some of my plans.  I went to pick up pants I was having tailor made and they werent right.  And other stuff not worth mentioning made my day so-so.

Nervousness has set in.  I am nervous to fly for the first time by myself.  I am nervous about all the immigration and customs stuff I have to deal with.  Nervous about being bored during my 6 hour layover in Toronto.  Nervous about culture shock when I return.  Nervous about relationships not being the same as I expect them to be.  Nervous about it all.

But I am gonna try to stay positive.  I get to watch all the movies I want on the planes.  I get to see my family in a little more than 24 hours.  I get to people watch.  I get to try new foods.  I get to add another story to my tale.

Thats all I have for you now.  Maybe later I will share about my awesome week up until today!

Sunday, June 8, 2014

Its finally June!!

Well May flew by.  My poor blog only had two posts but that seems to be the way things are going.  Anyway, May was super busy.  But I can finally breathe and relax. I dont know how some people finish school and leave the country or move all on the last day of school.  Our last day was Thursday; its now Saturday and I finally feel like I can relax.  I am so glad I am not heading out of here until the 14th even though I wish at times it was earlier.  My mind can relax and I dont have to stress to get everything done at once!

Let's see, what is new in my world.  Moe and I saw two movies this week: Godzilla and X-Men.  It was fun.  Going to the movies is much cheaper here, only 300 baht which is about 10 dollars for both of us! (right that is still cheaper?)  I keep saying things to people about America and then realize I havent been there for 2 years, I could be completely out of the loop!  Oh well.

I have finished my second year of teaching and it was wonderful. But I will say I am glad to be done.  My class was great and I will miss them, but for now its nice to be rid of them ;) Next year I am staying in 4th grade and will be the Head of my Department! ha. I feel silly saying that because I only have 2 years experience, but the other 2 people who are staying dont want to do it, so I got elected. It will be interesting to have so many new people next year!

The last Monday of school we took the fourth graders to a minigolf place and they loved it, for the most part. It was quite hot, so that part wasnt cool.  Plus it was concrete and not grass, so that made it harder, but I didnt hear much complaining!  It was a bit stressful for us teachers though, but the kids loved it enough that we will probably do it again! Here is my favorite picture from the day:

A reason (that isnt completely a reason but a good excuse!) of why I didnt blog was because we didnt have internet for a few days.  Moe and I went out together on the motorbike and I snagged these few pictures of what was happening.  Bamboo ladders and tons of wire is the Thai way!

Another reason why I havent been blogging is because of the political turmoil and the rumors of shutting down social media and what not.  So heres the deal.  Thailand is in a coup.  It probably will be for the next few months to a year.  What does that mean for us.  Soldiers are more prominent in many places here in town and in the country.  Initially there were protests, even in Chiang Mai, and things happening in multiple areas.  It now seems like that is limited only to certain parts of Bangkok.  A curfew was in effect for the whole country from 10pm to 5am for a few weeks but now is only from 12am to 4am, excluding airport travel and other necessities.  Even this curfew has been taken off of tourist beach destinations like Phuket and Krabi, and many others.  It will probably stay in effect here because there were some protests in the beginning. We did lose Facebook for a whole hour but that most likely wont happen again and I doubt any bit of the internet will be censored.

Last week was the first time that I saw soldiers in town, though I will say I purposely avoided areas that would have had them earlier.  They were relaxing under tents and enjoying themselves.  Many tourists have taken pictures with them and they seem very friendly.  Today I went to the market and some of the soldiers were putting on a show, while other soldiers clapped and danced and took pictures in the audience.  It is definitely not a scary thing to see soldiers here in Chiang Mai.

Lastly, I will share this terrible picture of me at the market with sweat stained face, a mango shake, and "potato chips" (a potato thinly sliced and fried!), solely because they were delicious and you should be jealous you didnt have one!