The First Week

Trip Start Aug 08, 2009
Trip End Jun 01, 2010

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Where I stayed

Flag of Thailand  , Phra Nakhon Si Ayutthaya,
Sunday, August 23, 2009

The first week is always the hardest they say, and how true that is. I just hope it's true that it gets easier after this. Everybody's always saying, you just have to adjust yourself. I'm trying! So my first week was.. yeah, difficult. School was and is insane. I got a ton of chemistry homework today, without a word of English anywhere. We'll see how that plays out. On Friday 10 busses went to Bangkok for a huge science exhibition called Impact. There's a few pictures from there. It was great. We had a huge dance party on the bus, someone took a blurry picture while I was at the back of the bus. It was fun. Thai music is pretty good. Yesterday it rained. Not like Seattle rain, I mean it REALLY rained. I thought the rain drops would drill holes into the roof. The thunder was deafening and the lightning would light up the whole sky. I actually ran outside and got completely drenched and started singing some song that Khaowfang got stuck in my head. She must think I'm some crazy American. That's okay though, that's what I am.
Just as I'm starting to get familiar with this town, it suprises me all over again. On Friday on the bus, before the dance party started, I saw a man with a tent underneath a bridge by a rice paddy. He had a little camp set up, with a clothes-line hung up and everything. As the bus zoomed by, I knew I had just glimpsed someone's whole life, what they do, how they live. I had seen into something I'd never experience in America. In America, you feel pity for homeless people, but it's different. Usually it's because they drank themselves into homelessness or with drugs or some economic tragedy and they don't have family. But here, it's just the way it is. It's nobodys fault. It's just like this. It's a hard concept to live with. Understanding is one thing, but it's hard to just be okay with it. Just because something is the way it is doesn't mean it should be. I see paint peeling off of buildings who knows how old. Rusted tin panels hastily nailed together to make a flimsy shelter that houses a whole family, 5 adorable tiny puppies I want to take home but I know they will all just grow up with fleas and wander around looking like all the other stray dogs, hopeless. I see stray dogs wandering into the classroom and lying down because it's too hot out (nobody minds though), a moped with 4 or 5 people crammed onto it, without helmets of course. People make do with it. Today though I saw something that made me sick.
I went to the Monday market with Ploy (one of Khaowfang's friends) to get some stuff for dinner after school today. I started to smell something awful, and down a row there were a bunch of cages set up with the saddest sight I've seen. There were poodle puppies, maybe 2 or 3 week old kittens, rabbits, a rooster, chicks, birds, and I didn't see all the rest. By that time I thought I might vomit. They were all crammed into these tiny wire cages like they were toys for sale. They put a little bow on one of the kittens that was cute, but also disgusting. It smelled so terrible. You know how they have the blind beggars in Slumdog Millionaire? Yeah that's not just in the movies, there were some blinded beggars at the market, just holding out a jar sitting there. It kind of gives you a feeling you didn't know existed. This really does exist. Not that I didn't know it before, it's a matter of seeing it and experiencing it.
Yeah, the Land of Smiles. Ironic. It's just about what the smile really hides.
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jjmason on

simple life
Hey Girl, I am loving reading what you write about and love all your observations and insights. The life people live in different countries is definitely more simple sometimes, like the guy in the tent, or the women at the market, who sell one thing and only one thing and that is their life. The thing is, that is all they know and I'm sure you'll find out as you live there longer that many of the people are happy with the little that they have as they dont' know it's so little. I always found when I traveled that the people with the least offered the most. They gave me the one bed in the village to sleep on with my 2 friends and fed us their beens for dinner hot and cold for breakfast. We always tried to share one serving between the 3 of us so we wouldn't leave them without, but people get used to their environment and all around the world human nature wins and people really are happy. It's an amazing world we live in.

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