Adjusting to a new life

It’s been a couple of weeks since my last post so I thought I’d update you all on what’s being going on in my little life.

Adjusting to Thai life hasn’t actually been as difficult for me as I once thought it would be. Don’t get me wrong I sweat profusely at every given moment and the weather is insanely hot and humid but life here isn’t that different to my life back at home. I still get home from work and watch netflix, I go out on a weekend and drink with friends and I sing and dance around my room listening to music most days. The only thing different is the fact that some of my friends are still in England and my family is there too, but with the use of technology I don’t really have to miss them as they are only a video call away.

That being said Thai culture differs quite largely from Western culture, but that’s what makes it so amazing to live here.

The first part of Thai culture that still amazes me to this day, and I’ve been here 5 weeks tomorrow, is the fact that every Thai person has a nickname. This isn’t just a shortened version of their long Thai name, these names are given to them by their parents from birth. They have nicknames because often their Thai name’s are long and complicated so it’s much easier to have a shortened name that they all go by. Makes sense right?

In school and outside of school the students I teach are known by their nicknames because it is easier for them. All their nicknames have different meanings, but to a native English speaker sometimes these names are different than the norm. I have many children in my classes named Oil, Ice or Cream. These names amaze me every day as they are so far away from their Thai names but they’re so interesting and I wonder how their parents chose their nicknames.

Another thing that I’m still getting used to – 

Squat toilets

I understand the concept but I just cant really seem to grasp how to use them. My school toilets are squat toilets and I’m genuinely scared to use them. I can 100% see myself slipping and falling in piss one day. If you don’t know what a squat toilet is please google it. It kind of looks like a bidet with a pot of water next to it. For a Westerner who never even visited Thailand for a holiday (stupid) before moving here these are very strange to use. It’s hard work being a girl sometimes but I’ll be leaving Thailand with Dwayne ‘The Rock’ Johnson’s thighs, watch this space. Also, next to the squat toilets is something that is widely called a bum wash, which is just basically a hose as you can’t flush toilet paper down the toilets here. Luckily a lot of places have Western toilets in town including my apartment but school is not one of those places and I’ve realised that wherever I go I must take toilet paper as it’s not really readily available.

Also, I have had to send out an emergency SOS message to my mum to send me some tampons because they don’t exist in my town. The panic. Sandra is thankfully on the case and is sending out some boxes in the post. I’ve sent a message to my sister telling her to send me some for Christmas but I don’t think it will happen. We’ll see. Kirsty, please don’t be horrible.

Again I would like to point out that I live in a rural Thai town so if you’re going to Bangkok or Phuket where there are loads of tourists of course there’s Western toilets and tampons galore, don’t you worry.

Moving on from my struggles because I actually don’t have anything to complain about.

The past week has been loads of fun. We had a festival called Loi Krathong 

Thai people make a Krathong which is a little raft made of a slice of banana tree trunk, leaves and decorated with flowers. On the night of the full moon, Thais launch their krathong on a river, canal or a pond, making a wish as they do so. The festival may originate from an ancient rural ritual paying respect to the water spirits. I copied that last bit from Wikipedia (don’t sue me, I’ll drop in a bibliography if you need me to). The town was lit up with bright neon lights, it almost felt like Christmas, there was a parade with all the children from the town involved. Singing, dancing, music and happiness. It was a beautiful festival to be a part of and I actually felt extremely grateful to be able to be in Thailand for it. As always I was stared at by the whole town but I’m getting used to it now. Someone even asked me to take a photo with their baby. At least I can sleep well knowing I’ll be in someone’s photo album as the farang who came to town for Loi Krathong that one time.

I’d like to apologise as I don’t update this as often as I should but I work and I have a life. People to see, Chang to drink. You know the deal.

See you soon

Steph

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