Through my blog and social media posts, I’ve been able to show you some of the things I love about living and teaching in Thailand. You’ve seen the smiles and laughter, beautiful landscapes and spontaneous adventures, but let’s be real for a second… It hasn’t all been so easy.
Don’t get me wrong, I absolutely love it here! But the last six weeks have undoubtedly been a huge adjustment. Here are a few pros and cons to give you an idea of what I mean.
PRO: I eat a lot of delicious Thai food made with fresh vegetables, egg, and noodles or rice.
CON: Many of our meals aren’t as healthy as they seem because the food is sauteed or deep fried with sauces, oil, sugar and MSG. Meat can also be questionable at times…
PRO: Some of my students are able to have intelligent conversations with me in English and a few have even studied in America as exchange students.
CON: Some of my students give me blank stares when I tell them to take out a piece of paper and sometimes their translated sentences are nearly impossible to decipher.
PRO: You can sometimes find decently clean Western toilets here.
CON: Squat toilets are much more common. Oh, and toilet paper and soap only exist in your dreams.
PRO: I’m slowly but surely learning to speak a little Thai!
CON: I accidentally cussed out our waiter at a bar.
PRO: I have already become incredibly close with many of my Thai and American friends here!
CON: The time difference makes it hard to stay in touch with friends from home and I miss my family very much, especially during the holidays. With each day that passes, I feel like I am falling further out of touch with “reality” back home.
Every new experience brings its own set of challenges (this is the truth that you don’t always see through the sepia-filtered lens of social media), but I feel lucky to have such a big support system here.
Our Thai co-teachers have been overwhelmingly generous, and we have American friends who live close by and are always down to share some pizza after a long week. I have been practicing my Thai, working hard to help my students and researching ways to eat healthier here.
I have also been FaceTiming friends and family when I can, so if you’re reading this, fill me in… What’s the 411? What has everybody been up to? What’s the hot gossip? Tell me everything. What have you guys been listening to? What are the cool jams? (#MeanGirlsquoteFTW)
I try to just take each day one at a time, though they seem to be flying by! How can it be that I am almost halfway through the semester? (Midterms are the week before Christmas.) And how can it have already been two months since I was sitting at home in New Hampshire without a clue as to what I was getting myself into?
Nevertheless, I am thankful to be on this journey, even with its pros and cons. I am so grateful for all of it — except maybe the squat toilets.