I can’t believe it’s been over a week since I last wrote. Time is FLYING by here. I apologize for the wait, and I can’t promise it was worth it, but I do have an excuse! I’ve been BUSY!
My TEFL (Teaching English as a Foreign Language) certification course started last Monday, on my 5th day in Phuket. It’s a three week course so we’re just over halfway done, but I already feel like I’ve learned so much. Right now I’m sitting on my front patio trying to soak up some sun rays before I go back in and continue working on lesson plans. After lesson plans, I have some reading from my textbook to do. Then I should probably do a little more research on the presentation that I’m going to give at the end of the course. After that I have to prepare some materials for my tutoring lessons this weekend. Our professor is a tyrant who wants to make us miserable and exhausted. JK- our professor is my dad 😉
Class starts at 8:30 every morning- and in case you’ve never met me before, let me tell you- the struggle is real. I get up at about 7:30am, get in the shower, and I’m ready to go by the time the morning anouncements play over the town’s loud speakers at 8am sharp. It’s a bit reminiscent of 1984, but I can’t understand a thing they’re saying, and it’s probably best not to think about it too hard. The school is within walking distance, but sometimes we drive if we have to teach at the public school that day. I prefer to walk. Anyone with a morning commute on public transit will understand me when I say- sometimes it’s nice to have a few minutes with your thoughts before the day begins. I remember dreading having to take the Campus Connector (go gophs!) to my morning class freshman year. By the time the semester was over, however, I missed the routine. I would read, or listen to music, or just zone out on that 15 minute bus ride to St. Paul. It gave me time to prepare to see the rest of the world, and I think the rest of the world really appreciated it. I can be a little scary in the mornings.
Every morning the sun rises at 6:30am here, so by the time 8:15am rolls around, it’s already sunny and hot. So I’m coping with the early morning as best I can because, as mornings go, these are pretty stellar. The 7 minute walk is also nice because my freshly showered hair has time to wind dry because 1) I don’t have a hair dryer here and 2)NO WAY am I waking up earlier to have extra time for it to dry.
I’m having a hard time putting this tactfully for all of my northern, snow bunny friends… but it is so incredibly beautiful here that even 7am looks good to me. I know, I know. You can pick your jaw up off the floor. I, Natalie Reece, just said something nice about mornings. Thailand has a way of doing that to you, though. It is the land of smiles.
And for those of you who can barely read these words because you’re seeing so much red, hopefully this will help. That beautiful morning walk, while good for my freshly showered hair, is not so good for my freshly showered legs (well, whole body really). The street I live on is a mix of dirt and gravel. This means that the town is at risk of being covered in a fine layer of dirt, because it gets kicked up on the road and the wind takes it everywhere. The solution to this problem drives around all day in the form of a water truck. They water the roads here. Think salt truck, but instead of salt, it’s just water, and it turns that dirt right into mud. So by the time I’ve arrived at school, my flip flops have kicked up enough of it to cover my calves, my backside, and sometimes I’ll even find little spots on the backs of my arms. Fun!
Yes, my school’s bathroom has a sink with running water so I can wash off. And no, we don’t have a washer and dryer- we have our laundry done by a service that charges at most 200 Baht ($6 USD) a load. And yes- always- I somehow leave the house every day at the exact moment the water truck is passing by so I get the fresh mud! Any other questions?
But, Mai Pen Rai, no worries. My body, while occasionally mud covered, is super happy here. My skin is sun-kissed, my belly is full of Fried Rice in Pineapple (and other delicious Thai dishes I promise to tell you all about), and my muscles are being put to good use. Not only do we walk almost everywhere, but I’ve found a yoga studio where I take classes most week nights. They offer a “Power Fusion” which is a 75 minute vinyasa flow, as well as a “Hot Yang” which is a 75 minute take on the Bikram poses. The instructor, Jack, is Bikram certified but has shortened the class a bit and taken a few creative liberties. Jack, I should also add, is a beautiful Australian man with blonde, flowy, beach hair, a permanent, scruffy 5 o’clock shadow, and an apparent aversion to wearing shirts. So, yea, I try to make it to yoga every day.
Speaking of, I’ve got about 15 minutes before I have to catch a tuck tuck to the studio. So your guess is as good as mine as to when I’m going to get my homework done. But I get a new message at least once a day from someone asking when I’m going to write more. And I promised quite a few of you that I’d post more often, so I’m prioritizing. I promise to write more about my TEFL class, my new friends, my tutees, and the elementary school children who are so adorable I could just die. I promise to write more about the delicious food, the thai language, the stray dogs, and the town I’m living in. I promise to write more about my pet frog, my elephant spirit animal, and the books I’m reading (so far I’m LOVING Outlander- thanks Aunt Mary!!). What else would you like to know about?
I miss everyone and I wish you all could be here with me. Each night I can’t hardly wait to see what the next day brings. There’s so much I want to add to this post and I promise it will all get written down soon. Thanks for being patient, even if you can’t hardly wait either 🙂
p.s. is everyone aware that if a text is green, you can click on the word and the hidden link will open up on a new page?^^ try it! Ok, good, just making sure 🙂
Fried Rice in Pineapple. They grill a pineapple, hallow it out, and serve your fried rice in it. It’s the perfect To Go box and one of the best meals I’ve had here.
A video of the water truck making mud on my street.
A video of my very first tuk tuk ride.