Welcome to ISB Flowers in my Apartment
Although I have only been in Thailand for 5 days, at times feels like it has been a month. I have been so busy with teacher orientation, getting to know the other teachers and administration staff, organizing my apartment, shopping for necessities (like food, kitchen supplies, and tropical plants to help make my all white apartment feel a little bit more like home) and attempting to learn the Thai language.
Without doubt, I’ve been slightly overwhelmed, more so with making the apartment feel more comfortable than anything. All of the walls are white, the furniture in my bedroom didn’t match (but thanks to mixing and matching pieces with Emma, I have been able to put together a matching dresser / bedside tables set.. Matt, I’m sure that made you laugh), and it was quite dirty (was glad I packed Lysol wipes).
On Wednesday we had our first meet and greet with all of the new staff and administration. Everyone is so friendly, all with unique and inspiring stories to tell. Many of the families have been teaching in the international school community for years. Two families lived in Tanzania for two years, which was SO cool to hear about, and nice to hear a little bit of Swahili again. We walked around Nichada Thani (the community we live in) and did some exploring. School is about a 7 minute walk, but the weather is so hot that they recommend riding a bike / some families have golf carts. That afternoon we took a coach bus to a store called Big C, which is very similar to WalMart with absolutely anything you could possibly need.
I was able to get bedding, towels, a shower curtain, kitchen stuff, a garbage can, and many other things.. even groceries. I had so much stuff that I had to do two trips to the bus!
Groceries were a bit of an adventure. The fresh produce and seafood was incredible. Unfortunately, the cheese I bought doesn’t really taste like the cheese we are used to… which may be a good thing for me..
On Thursday we went to a plant nursery, which was one of my favourite things so far. I have now filled my apartment and patio with beautiful plants.
I’m a little concerned that I will kill them, but some of the girls and I are going to get a maebon (maid) who will come once a week to clean / water plants / do laundry. At first I was struggling with the idea of getting a maebon, but it provides a job for a Thai woman and allows me to have some extra time to focus on school and traveling. Some maebons even cook, which would be great because I made my first meal last night and have spent the last 12 hours vomiting. I am almost sure it is food poisoning, hopefully I’ll be feeling better by tomorrow.
In the afternoon on Thursday we went to Central Department Store on Chaeng Wattana. I got a hair drier and a bathroom scale from the department store. The women were so nice, they wanted to give us a discount on the hair driers. The cashier kept making mistakes trying to ring things in, and instead of getting angry like we would at home they just laughed and smiled at us. It was refreshing. I already agree that Thailand truly is the Land of Smiles, everyone just smiles at us, and at each other.
Thursday evening was Lari’s birthday (another one of the annual subs), so we took a taxi to a delicious restaurant along the river. It was my first authentic Thai food experience, and I loved every single moment of it. We ordered several dishes and shared them amongst each other. It was on this evening that I realized I needed to start taking more pictures and carrying my camera around with me, not just my iPhone.
On Friday we spent the day at the school talking about housing, security and safety, ‘transitions,’ technology, the school’s vision and mission, and did a session on Thai language. It was such a great day, it felt great to be on campus and talking school with our colleagues. Everyone is so welcoming and I’m really, really looking forward to teaching.
On Friday night we went to a dinner party at the Head of School’s home. It was a lot of fun, a great way to socialize with the other teachers, and the food was incredible. He had a dog, which made me smile and miss Zoe.
Yesterday we went to the Grand Palace and Emerald Buddha downtown Bangkok. We were expected to wear long pants a have our shoulders covered.. it was so hot! The architecture was stunning, our guide spoke English well so we learned a lot about the Palace and the royal family.
After leaving the Palace, we took the river boat to the sky train – the river boat functions just like a bus, stopping at each stop along the river.
The sky train was neat, we got cards for it that you just tap as you enter and tap when you exit. It keeps a balance and when you are running out of credit you top it up at one of the many machines. Emma and I took the sky train to MBK, which is one of the major malls in Bangkok. The plan was to get my iPhone unlocked and get a phone plan going.
After a few hours of asking person after person on the 4th floor if they could unlock my phone, the best luck I had was 5,000 baht (160 USD) and it would take 3 days – 1 month. Apparently the version of iPhone I have needs to be factory unlocked.. I don’t really understand it.. so Matt is going to help me figure it out this week (fingers crossed).
Last night I got to chat with Kayla for a while, which was really nice! Today I had to miss out on going to the market because of being sick. I am feeling really disappointed, and will have to go next weekend instead.
Next time I write, hopefully it won’t be so long.. I’ll get better at this I’m sure!