Saturday, December 21, 2013

Friday Five: Wonderful Thai Things

It is undoubtedly unfair of me to post last week's Friday Five about the things that slowly kill me from the inside-out and not counterbalance it with the things that are utterly delightful about my temporary home.

1. My co-workers: My school and it's teachers are definitely a family, and I've been welcomed rather warmly into it. They are eager to collaborate to improve themselves personally and professionally. My opinion matters to them and they ask for my insight frequently. As with any job, the people you work with can easily make or break it entirely.

2. Year-round fruit and vegetables: I love that I can eat year 'round pineapple. Additionally, I pay twenty baht (~ .67 cents) for one medium pineapple, and thirty baht (just shy of a dollar) for a large one! A lot of other fruits do have seasons here, but there is a wide enough variety to keep me happy until mango, mangosteen, and pomelo seasons return. Besides, I always have pineapple.

3. New perspectives and the opportunity to improve myself: The wonderful thing about traveling is that you meet new people who have (sometimes vastly) different thoughts about the world, its people, and how it all "works." While I'm generally not one for cliches, I do love the saying, "The more I see, the less I know," because it's totally true. Being in a foreign land is fascinating, because, on average, you get to see, learn, and do more in any one given day than back home. It truly is a fortunate opportunity to be challenged daily and to learn more about the world and one's self.

4. Various aspects of Thai culture: There are many, so I'll just list them:

  • Looking out for others by way of comfort, stomach fullness
  • Respect for teachers and elders
  • The concept of sabaai sabaai (relaxed, chillin' out) when applicable (i.e. not at work).
  • Close knit community feelings (locality in general- food, relationships, conducting business)
  • Food, food, food
  • Politeness through appearance
  • The high rate of smile reciprocation

5. Friendship and running: I've come to learn that runners everywhere are the same. The soft, repetitive sound of a gait and rhythmic breathing is a common language between cultures and ethnicities. Through Pii Nongyao (first row, center), Nadia and I have been adopted into her group of (running) friends. On Sunday mornings, we run to the beach town six miles away and then have breakfast and socialize. This is no different from when I'd run with Craig or anyone else in America! We'd go running far away, eat shameful amounts of delicious food, and shoot the shit and enjoy each other's company. When I realized that runners were the same everywhere, all I could do was smile and feel more at home.

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