First Week at School

Hello again internet world, jaboi comin to you tape-delayed from some school in the middle of nowhere! Today is my official 5th day at my school. Privately I’ve told friends about my living situation but I think it’s time for it to go public.

Full disclosure, I wrote a post about my new school/apartment my first night I got here, but I’m not going to post it. Culture shock/terror was kicking in real strong and my discontent is pretty obvious. Now that I’ve been here for almost a week, I’m slowly getting used to it.

My town. When the XploreAsia advisors told me my school was in Lop Buri, I incorrectly assumed it was in the city of Lop Buri. Wrong. It’s in the province of Lop Buri. My school I’m teaching at is actually a boarding school where I live along with all the students and other teachers. Kinda strange, but do-able. The teacher housing is well away from the students at least. It’s extremely rural. On campus, there are wild goats, chickens,teacher aut roosters, ducks, and dogs running around… I’m definitely in Thailand now. Plus I’m the only white guy here, making me an absolute rock star. When I tell them I’m from Los Angeles they are basically starstruck.

I’ve definitely gotten pretty lonely at times throughout the first week, though I’m sure most of my XploreAsia friends can relate. It’s such a contrast to go, literally overnight, from living in a dorm with 90 friends to being completely isolated. Plus my school is a 20-minute bus ride from the nearest town, so I can’t even mosey through town to keep myself busy. On the way to the school, I asked my agent if there was a 7/11 near me. She laughed at me.

As for the perks, my accommodation, meals, laundry and utilities are all included in my contract. I think the most I’ve spent in a day is 60 baht, and that was when I was buying little gifts for the administration. Like I said, electricity is free so I’ve been running my air-con like I got 4 thighs (bonus points if you can name that song). I live by myself, except for my roommate who’s named “the biggest spider known to mankind.” I’ll post a picture of this insect-rodent hybrid at some point.

The “best” part of my apartment Who needs a shower! I got me a high-quality trash can below a faucet that even comes with a nice bowl to scoop and dump water on myself. Hot water? Psh, overrated. Oh yeah and there’s a frog that lives in my bathroom. His name is Stevie. And apparently I need to watch out for hornets that live on the top floor and the snakes that reside in the grass. Home sweet home. Jealous much?

All of that fun stuff I can get used to, but wifi is one thing that I’ve struggled with so far. My first 3 days, it was nonexistent. The past couple days it’s been off & on, but apparently the school is working on it. They told me that it would only work at the school and not in our rooms, then today someone told me  that the school is going to get the 3 foreign teachers wireless broadband! That would let us use wifi as it’s meant to be used, in bed, sans pants with air-con showering over us.

I teach 17 classes per week. They range from 15-18 years old. They’ve been pretty chill so far. Most of my classes to this point have just been introductions and showing them pictures of my family and friends and whatnot. I showed up to one of my 18 year old classes the other day and there was all of 6 kids in it. I mean I’m adaptable and all, but all of my activities are definitely planned for more than 6. So we sat in a circle and checked out my iPhoto pictures while I tried to rush past any inappropriate photos. I showed them my Quail-man costume from Halloween, and one girl saw 2 empty Chang bottles in the background. I hear her say to her friends, “Beer Chang! Beer Chang!” I proceeded to tell the worst lie ever and said they were my friend’s bottles. We still had a ton of time left so we just went on a walk. Class ended early that day.

A couple days ago, the local hunter asked me if I like whiskey and beer and said to meet him at 6:30 on campus. I thought, “Cool, some people to have a drink with.” Little did I know, it was a extravagant banquet for the a visiting director from another school. It was a lovely fish dinner (mmm… fish…). The whiskey and beer part were neat, but the following 90 minutes karaoke in Thai dragged out a bit. The hunter, Aof, kept refilling my drink so he’s basically my new best friend.

Oh yeah, my new nickname. Apparently the 2 syllables that make up the name “Austin” is too much for people to handle. I’ve been officially rebranded as “Teacher Aut.” Somebody told me later that I should have been “Oz” instead, which would’ve been way cooler. Too late though. Oh well.

I guess there’s buses that leave from school every Friday that go to Bangkok, Lop Buri, and other big cities in the region. Which means that Mon-Friday afternoon are gonna be isolation at school, and weekends will be reuniting with the farang gang in our various spots. This weekend it’s off to Bangkok for Margaret’s birthday. Can’t wait. Well, I’m done with class for the day (at 1pm) and I have to be here until 4. So it’s time for lesson planning now. Peace y’all, Bald Eagle out.

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