Wednesday, January 16, 2013

All Thai-ed Up

I've been on this wacky Peace Corps adventure for a mere five days now, and I am absolutely happy. Today, a fellow volunteer and I spoke after introducing ourselves, in Thai, to the vice governor of Suphan Buri province about what our lives would have been like otherwise in the States- I would have been teaching kids who would be attempting to bite/annoy/spit on/yell at/insertvariousoffensivegesturehere me instead of being a desirable professional in a highly respected capacity. This is what it's all about.

Now, let me backtrack a bit, and offer a summary of the trip thus far, albeit abridged-

Staging was seven hours of policy, icebreakers, and expectations. People all grouped up and headed out to dinner afterwards. I definitely had some beer, sat in my room's personal sauna for far too long, and had to be woken up the next morning by the Staging facilitator with fifteen minutes until the buses left for SFO. Oops.

Including wait time, we traveled for thirty one consecutive hours, including, but not limited to- a five hour wait at SFO, two hour delay due to SFO plane hydraulics issues, two hours of logistics upon landing in Bangkok, and an hour and a half bus ride to Suphan Buri. I couldn't tell up from black or seven from the sun. Most people slept for two hours before arising for a day of training. 

PST began Monday, 14 January. It's been a hoot, actually. Our Thai staff is epic- So kind, patient, hilarious, and eager to assist. At first we covered a lot of policy and history stuff, but have quickly moved into cultural and language training. Training has been loaded with material. It's a bit overwhelming and difficult, but it is all critical to our success, safety, and happiness. 

Today was interesting; we began the day by visiting the Suphan Buri provincial building to meet some state officials and begin our true cultural exchange. In the afternoon we learned how to shit in a hole and clean ourselves. Without toilet paper. Helluva roller coaster. Thursday and Friday are dedicated to bike training. I'm merely excited that I don't have to dress in a polo and slacks for the day. I am also stoked to get a bike, brush up on my bike maintenance skills, and learn how to not die while riding on Thai streets. Saturday we meet our host families and move into their home. Sunday we have a play day with them!

We've received a lot of shots. I hate shots. The nurse administering them is really pro at it though. I feel strange about pumping my body with multiple weakened viruses (virii?) at the same time though. 

I've met some really quality people- Again, the American and Thai staff are dedicated and professional. Volunteers seem so humanely oriented- Open-minded, selfless, positive. I feel blessed to be surrounded by such good individuals. Ma, Pa- I'm in good hands. 

Sights seen: 
  1. Beautiful lotus flowers doing what they do- grow in murky, dank, scum water
  2. A woman swimming in said water
  3. Smiles. Everywhere
  4. Tons of street dogs
  5. A tasty variety of mystery meats at food carts to behold
  6. Giant rooster statues
  7. A man shooting an AK-47 airsoft gun at pigeons
  8. Kids yelling "hallo!" at another fellow volunteer and I while running
  9. Ladyboys
  10. Lots of laughs and bonding among volunteers
Feelings felt while feeling feelings:
  1. Happiness over making the right decision for my life
  2. Wonder about everything- people, culture, language, work
  3. Confusion about everything- people, culture, language, work
  4. Excitement over what service will bring
  5. Frustration with tonal language learning, squat toilets, and the "cleaning up" portion after dropping a deuce. Want deets? Just ask.
  6. Acceptance due to experiencing this new life with 49 other individuals 
  7. Safe and secure after learning (and re-learning) just how much Peace Corps watches out for its volunteers and sets us up for success
  8. Satisfaction with meeting other avid runners. New training partners!
  9. Apprehension over living with a homestay family and living a life speaking only Thai
  10. Weirdness over this hilarious new life

3 comments:

  1. Good to know....my arms are not that long.
    love,
    Pa

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  2. I am so excited I stumbled upon your blog!!! I am filling out my application right now and your timeline/story has given me the best feeling!
    I am going to follow you to see what kinds of adventure and kindness you get to be apart of on this amazing journey!
    Thank you and take care,
    Kristin :)

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  3. Hi Kristin,

    Thank you kindly for the wonderful compliment. I am truly happy to hear that my adventure can help others build excitement for their own. Thank you for following me and my new life, and I hope to not disappoint. Best of luck to you on your journey. Please feel free to ask any questions you may have.

    Jay

    ReplyDelete