Hey, thanks for coming back! I promise to try to occasionally remember to fill you in on the more day-to-day interests as opposed to only discussing my internal struggles, which can get a bit heady. I should warn you though; on occasion the day-to-day may not always be lighter.
It has quickly become apparent that although there is a lot for us to process, we have a lot of time on our hands. I mean a lot of time, but we are each doing our best to fill it. Studying Thai, reading, playing guitar, playing games, listening and discussing podcasts, and watching and discussing movies are just some of the tasks that keep me busy. As you may have noticed, we are in a pretty remote area, with people we can barely speak to, and it is usually really hot! As a result we have become highly productive (in contrast to our normal lackadaisical ways), but also getting to know each other and ourselves in a way we have rarely made time for.
In comparison to Illinois, most everything looks very different. The most obvious is that driving is on the left side of the road, but here are some that are more interesting:
- We are surrounded by tropical plants (we have had fresh coconut water from a coconut off a tree in our backyard).
- There are small lizards in our home that entertain us with their constant stalking of insects (and who occasionally get over exuberant and fall 12 feet from our ceiling to the floor without injury).
- We regularly see motorcycles and mopeds carrying 3 or 4 people (children as young as 3 holding on to the handle bars) or people carrying umbrellas to shield the sun while driving.
- Our bathroom, or Hong Nam (Water room), is a small room with a shower, toilet, sink, and sprayer. There is a drain in the floor and most things get wet when you bathe.
- If ordered cold, coffee is instant coffee poured over ice and topped with sweetened condensed milk (pretty much a staple here). I have attached a photo of my Espresso.
- My favorite thing is that we often eat with our hands and there are all new types of fruits to fall in love with. We have been eating rambutans, dragon fruit, and some other fruit I don't know the name of. It is clustered like grapes, but is tan and you peel off the inside. Once open, they are in sections kind of like an orange.
Each day we eat foods that we have no idea what they are or what is in them, but most are delicious. The least appetizing aspect of Thai food has been the fish, mostly because in America we do not like our fish to taste like fish. Fish here invariably tastes like fish, and you also have the whole fish (bones and head in the bowl) to help enhance the fish experience. Fish is a common part of the diet, we have had some wonderful fish, and Susan and I try at least a little of everything and always clear our plates.
A nice change is the lack of distraction. People here may not have internet at their homes, but most have phones with 3G and check the news, social media, etc… I hear the cost of a cell phone plan is relatively cheap (40 or 80 baht per week). Yet they still sit in a room throughout the day and talk to each other with few texts taking place. They do not seem to check or know the weather (but I believe that like me, they are always hoping for rain this time of year). The rain is good for the rice and the cooler weather seems to help everyone’s psyche.
We eat lunch that is prepared for us daily, and typically cook ourselves a vegetarian fried rice for dinner. We were also invited to go put food out for the spirits at midnight on Friday night (the 13th on the Buddhist calendar), which we are told is an annual practice. We saw many small plates of food on our way to NongKhai Saturday.
I feel that we are settling in well and it has sunk in that we will be living here for the next year. I have a lot of posts in progress, you can look forward to (or ignore) my upcoming posts related to Healthcare, and soon after I may post on simplicity again. Thanks again for hanging in there!