While many of our friends have been traveling to nearby provinces, my roommates and I have been focusing on exploring our own province and building relationships with our Thai friends and coworkers. We have grown extremely close to four of the Thai teachers in our department, who are basically like our family here. They take us shopping, feed us, participate in our group text, answer all our annoying questions, deal with our paperwork, and giggle as we try to speak Thai. Another one of our co-teachers is a guy named Thong (pronounced “Tong”), who is close to us in age and has done everything he can to make us feel comfortable here. We love hanging out with him and his friends on the weekends, and even taught them how to play beer pong!
We have tried tons of different restaurants and are starting to get into a routine of visiting our favorite ones. To be honest, though, food has been sort of a struggle here so far. First of all, the other three girls I’m living with are all vegetarians, which makes choosing restaurants a bit of a challenge. Second, Thai food in general is not quite what I was expecting. I thought it would be very healthy, consisting mostly of steamed rice and vegetables, but almost everything we see is either fried or sautéed in soy sauce, oil and salt. The language barrier can also make it very difficult to order things the right way (or order things at all, for that matter), but every day we are improving and making friends along the way!
Last weekend, we went with a tour guide to visit Chae Son National Park, which is about an hour outside the city. We marveled at the Chae Son Waterfall, meandered through the hot springs, and hiked up to a temple that sits on the top of a mountain. What a great workout! And the view wasn’t half bad…
While we have enjoyed getting acquainted with our lovely little city, we do have some exciting trips ahead of us! This weekend, we will visit some friends in Chiang Rai and see the beautiful White Temple. Also, next weekend, we have been invited to attend a traditional Thai wedding for the son of our school’s Vice Principal. After that, we will head to Chiang Mai for the world-renowned Yi Peng lantern festival for Loi Kraton.