So I am going to warn you right away that this blog post will be long…So much has happened this week! Hopefully in the future I will have time to update my blog more than once a week so you all don’t have to read a novel everytime, but while I am in training that’s probably not going to happen lol. Okay lets get to it…
So last Saturday after four Thai language lessons I moved in with a Thai family. Definitely one of the scariest, most humbling, awkward, and exciting things I have ever done. The first night was definitely hard. I have never been in a situation where I really couldn’t understand nor be understood at all. However, my new family simply amazes me. They agreed to take in a complete stranger who doesn’t speak the language, and have been doing everything in their power to make me feel comfortable.
My new family consists of my Meh (mom) who goes by Yai, my Paa (dad) who goes by Pea, and my Nong-sow (little sister) named Wieu. Wieu is 18 and speaks a few words of English which has been a lifesaver at times lol. My Meh immediately decided to give me a Thai name, so I am only referred to here as Bpaaeng (sort of sounds like Pang) which translated means like makeup blush or powder. Apparently, I am very white and I was blushing a lot when I met her 🙂
As far as homestays go I think I made out pretty good. I have my own room in the house, and I am pretty sure that Wieu gave up her room to me and she is sleeping on her parent’s floor. Did I mention that these are the nicest people ever?!? I have to flush the toilet using bowls of water from a bucket in the bathroom, but I do have wifi. Random huh? My house is made of concrete, but a lot of the houses around here are made of wood. I’m happy with where I ended up for sure.
So my usual day consists of getting up at 5:30 and having Gah-fee (coffee) and Chaa (tea) with my Meh and Paa. I then aap-naam (take a shower/bath) and get dressed in my riap roi clothing. Riap roi is a Thai concept meaning complete and appropriate, so riap roi clothing means that I look nice. Anyway so I get dressed so I can go serve food to the Pra (monks) at 6:30. The Pra walk around the tambon (sub-district) and we stand out in front of our house until they come by. My Meh has let me serve them the rice the last couple of days and I think this last time I finally got it right lol. After we serve the Pra, we gin kaaw (eat). Then I go change into my bike riding outfit and leave the house at 7:00 to begin my commute.
I bike about 12 kilometers to my language class each morning which is at a primary school here. Which means on Wednesdays language class includes doing dancing and aerobics with the kids in the morning, for as long as our ajaan (teacher) will let us lol. So much fun! I spend four hours in the morning studying Thai language. The class is small, one ajaan and four students, and we are not allowed to speak any English. It also includes learning to read and write in Thai, which if you have seen their alphabet you know is no easy task. After four hours of language I feel like I have run a marathon, but I am learning a lot.
We are then allowed to go get lunch out in town and use our new language skills. I can now successfully order my guay-tiaw naam sii gai gop naam nun khuat (My noodles with chicken and a bottle of water)! To be honest when I am out and about or at home I rarely know what exactly I am eating, although there are times that I do. For example this is clearly a chicken foot lol.
After lunch I then bike a couple kilometers to the main training site where I do four hours of technical training for my job in youth development. Last week we were learning a lot about the formal and traditional government systems that are currently in Thailand and how to work within them. We have also talked about how to best get Thai youth involved, as well as intentional relationship building within our community.
Then I bike the 12 kilometers home! Which again is ridiculously beautiful and I enjoy the exercise. I then usually eat dinner with Meh and Wieu, since Paa usually works until after eight. We chat about my day and always end up laughing at my mistakes trying to talk to them. I then aap-naam (shower) again, do my gaan-baan (homework), and pay nawn (go to bed). Then I get up and do it all over again!
And I’m sure you are thinking this post must be over by now..well you would be wrong, but you have read this far so you might as well humor me and read the rest 🙂
This weekend my Krop-Krua (family) took me to what I think might have been something to celebrate the Chinese New Year, to feed the fish in the river, and to Don Chedi which is a cool battle reenactment (I’m not exactly sure what the story was since it was all in Thai, but it was cool to watch). I think that is one of my favorite parts about Thailand, I only know what is going on, where I am going, or when it is happening about .05% of the time 🙂
Now it is my Sunday and I am hanging out with the family. Today my Meh was showing me how to hand wash my clothes and I think the fact that both my Meh and Paa almost died laughing means I was quite obviously a rookie. At least I can be a source of entertainment around here lol.
One last random story. The nayoke’s (sort of like the mayor) wife of the district we are training in made us chocolate cake and it was the best thing ever! It has been awhile since I ate something without rice lol. Probably was more excited about cake than I should have been, but dang it tasted good!
So life here is still good! I am definitely missing all of my friends and family and I hope everyone is doing well. I will try and update next week. Good night all!