Trat, Thailand

Trat, Thailand

Yesterday I said goodbye to my group of fellow Americans and
made the solo 10-hour journey from Hua Hin to my home for the months to come in
Trat, Thailand. The journey consisted of me taking a songthaew (just google it)
to the van station, a van to Bangkok (where I missed my stop), a taxi to
Rangsit Mall (which took me about 32 times to say before the driver understood
that I was attempting to say “Mall Rangsit”), and lastly my agent picking me up
(only after not being able to find me resulting in me having to awkwardly hand
my phone to a random Thai to help give her directions) and driving me the
remaining 5 hours to Trat. Overall I would say it was a pretty successful trip!

When we arrived at my accommodation I was genuinely
impressed. I was expecting a room with no windows, a squat toilet, and a bucket
shower. Instead I received a king sized bed (never personally had one in my
life), a shower with hot water (the first hot shower I have taken since I have
been in Thailand), and a toilet that I can actually sit on (a luxury I took much
too for granted in the U.S.). My only concern with my new place is that it
lacks the comfort of a home and reminds me more of a hotel room. I can’t
complain much though because the location is outstanding. I live directly
across from my school, down the street from a night market where I can buy
anything from some of the best tasting fruit I have ever had to the most rancid
smelling fish I have ever smelt. With that in mind I have come to the
realization that Thailand is a country of extremes and not many in-betweens. I’ve
also been told by my friend (who is actually just the lady at the front desk at
my apartment, but hey when you have no friends you take what you can get) that
there is a gym very close by that I can pay 10 baht (27 cents) per visit and a
park surrounded by a small lake/pond.

Up until last night my first 11 days in Thailand have been
pure excitement and filled with the familiarity of home on account of being
surrounded by lots of Americans. I was in vacation mode. Last night however, I
found myself laying in my bed with culture shock and loneliness hitting me with
full force, which was also accompanied by tears, lots and lots of tears. If you
ever want to feel extremely out of place move yourself to a town across the
world where there isn’t anyone else with your skin color, rarely anyone fluent
in your language (and if so definitely not with your accent), and where every
sign looks literally like a bunch of scribbles.  I like to consider myself a pretty adventurous
girl, but I have to say I am completely out of my comfort zone.

I sent an email to my grandfather expressing my feelings
and he responded back with, “The loneliness is natural, but you can turn it into a
positive. Keep a journal, so that sometime in the future you can write
about the experience of a young American teacher going through the cultural
shift while becoming a resident in a small town in Thailand, and teaching Thai
students.  You should accumulate lots of good, bad and humorous things…jot
down something every day.” So although I wont post on my blog every single day,
I will journal and keep you all up to date at least once a week.

next time.

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