I never know how to start these posts!
I haven’t been blogging as much as I used to when I first got here, and it’s for a couple reasons. Part of it is just being more adapted and there aren’t as many new/novel things to type about, but also because writing was also somewhat of a coping mechanism when I was at my school and going through loneliness and culture shock. I’m more acclimated now, but it doesn’t mean that life as a white guy in Thailand still isn’t hard from time to time.
Speaking of culture shock and re-adjusting, I’ve had to deal with culture shock round 111 over the past 2 months living in Chiang Mai. I moved up here at the end of September to lead my company’s inaugural TESOL courses up here. It’s the second biggest city in Thailand, and is much more mountainous and woodsy than Bangkok and the rest of Thailand. It’s sweet. Still hot, but not nearly as crippling. Plus I’ve lived by the beach my whole life, so it’s been kind of novel being a mountain person for a while (I bought more plaid, flannel, and jean shorts to fit in better).
My living set up is awesome. I live by myself in the ‘burbs of Chiang Mai in my boss’s 4 bedroom, 2 story house. But, while I do really like it up here, it’s much different than Hua Hin where I lived with coworkers and always had a nice little group of friends around. Up here, I’ve been basically riding solo. So while it’s been awesome having the responsibility of being in charge of our initial expansion, I’ve had to deal with some of the same loneliness that I felt when I first got to my Thai school in Lam Narai.
It took me a couple weeks to re-adjust to being on my own again and not living with a group of people. While I’ve always been comfortable doing stuff on my own during the day, I become much less of a solo adventurer when the sun goes down. I haven’t been going out much, which isn’t necessarily a bad thing, and it’s saved me a boatload of money. I’ve also rediscovered my own inner comedian and have resorted to trying to make myself laugh (definitely not sad at all). If only Stevie the Frog was back, he could share my jokes with me.
While I mainly live on my own, I have had a part time roommate who stays at the house with me for a week or so at the start of each course. She’s one of my coworkers and she helps with job placement for my students. She is also a funny, weird, and extremely proud ladyboy. We don’t hang out much outside of work, but how many people can say they’ve had a ladyboy for a roommate at any point in their lives? Benz, if you’re reading this, I love you but you’re not my type.
The other weird thing I’ve had to deal with up here in Chiang Mai is being in charge. It’s been a much easier experience than I expected. Honestly the biggest difference that it’s made in my day-to-day life is that I actually have to answer my phone every time it rings. Other than that, there’s a lot of delegating that I get to do because some tasks I just can’t do because of the language barrier. I’ve grown to love this term “delegating.” A famous philosopher once defined delegating as*, “The act of telling underlings to do stuff that you don’t want to do.”
Other than that, both of my TESOL courses have gone pretty well during my time up here. They’ve been small (only 8 or 9 people), as opposed to the big groups of 30 I had when I was teaching earlier this year. Plus it’s nice being the front man again. It’s hard to not get an ego boost when you’re the “Messiah of Thailand” to the wet-behind-the-ears newbies that I get to spend all day with.
Both of my groups have also have had some cool and entertaining people, which makes life way more entertaining. Sometime next week though I’ll be back to being “bald guy at the computer” while Jaco leads the smaller groups during the upcoming slow months.
Oh yeah, I’m gonna be home for Christmas! I fly back on Dec. 16th and I’ll be home for a little over 3 weeks. I’m super pumped to see the family and eat burritos for 23 days. As excited as I am, I’m honestly a little nervous to deal with reverse culture shock. Can’t wait though. I’m gonna be able to ask for directions, evesdrop on people, and drive cars. All the little things that that you lose the ability to do when you live abroad. Cheers everyone back home, looking forward to seeing everyone soon.
* Completely made up quote & source