Yesterday and today have been interesting, to say the least.
I started to get sick the day after I moved here–sore throat, fever, and all that. My school coordinator offered to take me to a clinic to get some antibiotics, but I really want to build up my resistance to things naturally and not go on a bunch of drugs straight away. So, I spent over 30 hours curled up in my bed, sick and miserable and thinking of all the better places I could be than here, buried in some suburb of Bangkok, alone and wondering what I’d gotten myself into. Basically, I’ve been having a pity party for the past two days.
Anyhow, I dragged myself out of bed this evening to run down the street and get some noodle soup for dinner. I was just planning on coming back and going straight to my room, but as I dumped my noodles (sold to me in a plastic bag) into a bowl in our kitchen, Chip and his family invited (forced :)) me to join them at the dinner table.
Wait. Perhaps I should explain who Chip is. Chip is the maintenance man at my school, who lives in the bedroom on our lower level. My house has 5 levels in all, with 6 bedrooms. Right now, two of the rooms aren’t being used because we only have 3 teachers– myself, Matt, and Kai. (Side note: It’s quite an interesting experience living with three guys, especially when one is a Thai man in his 60′s).
Anyhow. Because Tuesday is a Buddhist holiday, Chip had his whole family over for the weekend. When Matt and I arrived, we were greeted by 5 Thai people, wai-ing us and bringing us drinks of water, and we shared a look that said: “Oh! Didn’t know we were sharing the house with a Thai family! But okay, cool” It wasn’t until 4 hours later that we learned they didn’t actually live here. Haha.
Anyhow, his wife, daughter, and grand-daughter are all staying in our house for the weekend, and they asked me to join them for dinner today. Tonight was my first real interaction with Thai people, aside from bartering at a food stall or chatting with the Thai staff we met during orientation. I ended up sitting with them for 3 hours, sharing English and Thai lessons and communicating with a ton of pointing and gestures. I was offered fruit, candy, coffee, and their young grand-daughter kept perpetually filling up my glass of water the second it started to run low. I saw family photo albums and read their son’s English doctoral dissertation. I tried to explain where I was from in America and why I came to teach. They asked how old I am and why I don’t have a boyfriend. (You tell me!)
Strange, but I almost forgot that I was sick while I was talking with them. I needed to get out and do something, and their friendliness and warm hospitality was exactly the medicine I needed. If I am feeling well tomorrow, they are going to take me to the temple with them for the holiday celebration. So, in the end, today turned out to be a much better day than I anticipated!