Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Back in Canada?

First a little technical note: As soon as I get internet at my house I will fix all the pictures on my previous entries.

Now back to regular programming...

So what is it like to be back in Canada after my life-changing experience in Thailand. Well hmmm.... am I really back in Canada? I feel like I am still in Thailand and may be part of me is... and WHY do people drive on the wrong side of the road here?! I tried to get into the passenger seat of a taxi in Winnipeg and couldn't remember where it was.

I also have no idea where my clothes are! I have clothing from my last student teaching placement in my drawers... long pants, collared button-up shirts, and sweaters! Where are my t-shirts? What clothes do I even own?! I am so sick of wearing the same t-shirts for two months whenever I wasn't at the school wearing my uniform. I managed to find one black t-shirt to wear but my capris and shorts are still elusive.

And what did I eat when I lived in Canada? It took me 30 minutes to write a simple grocery list. I am going back to being vegetarian but I have no idea what to eat and my body is so confused it hasn't been hungry since I got back to Manitoba. So far I have ate pizza, 2 pizza pretzels and a muffin over the past 2 days... mostly because I figured I should eat SOMETHING even if I wasn't hungry! I bought orange juice. It is so nice I can get it without any sugar added in Canada! I am going to have to cook my own food for the first time in two months. Maybe I will have pasta with black bean pasta sauce, or stir-fry. I find myself looking at the food in the grocery store as if it is completely foreign.

I keep waking up at bizarre hours. There is nothing to do because I have yet to hook up internet to my apartment. I guess I can fill out my student loan application or fix my resume for job-hunting.

I came home to find out one of my roommates took my car joy-riding and the other roommate caught her and kicked her out. The pipe attached to the muffler is broken but my remaining roommate is going to help me fix it. It also was completely empty on gas. She stole my other rooomate's 2 televisions too. Good riddance! I need to also switch my car to its summer tires because there was still snow on the ground when I left! Once I get the muffler things sorted out I'll be out to Souris to fetch the tires I guess.

My remaining roommate is moving to Winkler at the end of the month because he got promoted at work. I will stay in the apartment but I am uncertain what roommate, if any, I will end up having. I kind of enjoyed living alone in Thailand and I can afford this place on my own, at least until it starts to get cold. It is a big apartment to have all to myself though! And I have no furniture to speak of. I might buy the beat up old futon off of my current roommate. Also there is either water or sewage leaking into the bathroom from the apartment upstairs. The landlord is being his usual unhelpful self. Overall, I am relieved that my car is mostly intact and that my stuff wasn't all sitting out back in the alley when I got home. I am going to have to work something out with him about fixing the holes in the wall in the living room. He needs to at least pay for the mud. I am kind of excited about the prospect of picking a new paint colour for the wall, although I don't want anything too bizarre or I'll have to redo the whole room and it would be a big and expensive job!

Well, all in all, I am feeling more confident and things are starting to sort themselves out around here. I feel the rest of the summer and the following year look promising! I have got everything sorted out for my courses for the fall and even if the electives kind of suck they are good from a business perspective and I am beginning to see the value of seeing things from a business perspective. That is something Thailand has taught me. Spending a lot of time on my own figuring out how to do things in a foreign country made me realize I really have a whole lot of power over my own life, even more than I previously thought. Right now I am working through the steps to get where I want to be, and even if I don't like ever single step I understand their merit. Step one, find a job and apply for student loans. Step two, sort out all remaining things with the apartment. Step three, pay my car insurance. Step four, complete the remaining year of school. After that, back to Thailand? Time will tell! With any luck two years from now will see me working in Thailand and planning to spend school vacation Down Under!

Monday, July 4, 2011

Thailand, In Retrospect

(entry is still missing some of my Chiang Mai photos)

I think I will write a blog on Chiang Mai still but I want to look back at before I went to Thailand and revisit my entry 10 Things I Hope To Do in Thailand. Here is the list of things I wanted to do and some commentary on how I completed each of these goals.

1. Teach some wonderful students.

This one was easy. I had a wonderful class that included four grade 6, and twelve grade 5 students. The kids were incredibly smart, artistic, and endearing. I am not posting any pictures of them because I don't believe it is right to post pictures of my students on the internet. I will post some pictures of me teaching where no students are facing the camera though.

2. Spend some time relaxing on the beaches.

This one was more difficult than I thought. I am not very good at just sitting still when there are some many exciting things to see! I spent some time walking the beach in Hua Hin and I attempted to sit on the beach in Pattaya but only managed to sit there restlessly for about an hour. Next time I go to Thailand I would like to head south to some of the islands that have beautiful water and lots of fish!

3. Hold a tiger.

I held a baby tiger in Sri Racha. It was an active little thing. I also got to pet a full grown tiger at the same place.

4. Ride an elephant.

I was able to ride elephants 3 times. The first was in Hua Hin, the second was in Kanchanaburi, and the third was in Chiang Mai. I also saw elephant shows in both Sri Racha and Chiang Mai, and a baby elephant in the streets of Hua Hin. In Hua Hin I fed an elephant bananas and in Chiang Mai is saw elephants paint pictures, play the harmonica, play football (soccer). In Kanchanaburi I saw elephants bathing. I have grown a love for elephants in my time in Thailand. They are intelligent and generally gentle creatures worthy of our respect.

5. See the Grand Palace.

The Grand Palace and the Temple of the Emerald Buddha are definitely the highlight of Bangkok. I would suggest everyone visit them. The beauty will throw you into a sense of awe. There really are no words to describe them properly!

6. Eat some delicious bugs.

I ate bugs on two occasions, at Khao San Road in Bangkok, and the Sunday night market in Chiang Mai. I tried locusts, crickets, and giant water bugs. They really were not as bad as I thought. In fact the locusts I might even eat again if given the opportunity. I also tried frog near my apartment in Thonburi.

7. Go to an open-air market.

I went to many open air markets throughout Thailand. In fact I bought dinner at the night market near my apartment almost every night.

8. See some Buddhist Temples.

Again, there was no shortage of opportunities for this. All I had to do was walk down the street to find a temple. The architecture is so grand and beautiful!

9. Take in the Natural Beauty.

I did this on many occasions. The best to places by far were Kanchanaburi and Chiang Mai. And my train ride from Chiang Mai to Bangkok allowed me lots of time to see the mountains, as did zip-ling outside of Chiang Mai. I think when I wrote this I was thinking more of the white sand beaches but I realized that the mountains drew me more.

10. Visit Bangkok Museums and Gardens.

I went to the National Museum and National Gallery in Bangkok. I also went to Buddha Mountain which had spectacular gardens! Next time I go to Thailand I would love to try to get to some of the Botanical Gardens dedicated to the King. They look amazing!


When I got to Thailand I soon realized that while my goals were a good start, there were so many other things to do! I tried so many new foods, took over 10 methods of transportation, and generally had a good time. I will write more about the highlights soon and add photos to all of my entries! Right now I need to catch a bus back to Brandon. Thanks for following along with my amazing adventure overseas!