Month: January 2015

Settling in, sort of

As the first week of my time in Thailand comes to a close, I feel I am beginning to settle in. Albeit slowly. It feels as if it has been far more than eight days that has gone by, as every day has been a roller coaster. I’ve learned so much, yet become conscious of how much more there is out there to know. It has been a humbling experience to say the least, and I am weary and excited to see what the next week brings. I’ve had some excellent experiences with many local Thai people. Everything that I have read about their innate kindness and generosity has proved true precisely when I needed the most. Many faces are now connected to names and smiles in my head, and that helps keep me anchored when I go about my day to day routine, particularly at the University. Now that I have had a bit of time to think about it, the things I miss most so far are all the conversations I have each …

Day Two: Bangkok’s Chinatown

Before Bangkok began the Thai-dominated metropolitan mixing pot that it is, apparently it was the Chinese who had the settled it the furthest, and have been effectively ingrained in Thai society for the last 400 years. About 14% of Thai citizens are ethnic Chinese, and as many as 40% can claim some small piece of Chinese heritage. At least I read all this is my Lonely Planet guidebook and a Wikipedia article, so I thought it would be prudent to spend my last free day before classes begin by exploring Bangkok’s Chinatown for myself. Sensory overload was the theme for the day, and I forced myself to trudge through the stalls for several hours experiencing the sights, sounds, and smells of the area. Hundreds and hundreds of people crammed into alleyways not more than six or eight feet wide with stalls selling wares on either side led you to squeeze your way as politely as you could for around an hour, then abandoning all sense of propriety and just forge on by whatever means possible. …

Adventures Abound on the First Full Day

Well, here I am, writing again at 5:30 in the morning with the birds chirping outside my window. It’s never what I would have predicted myself doing, but if it turns into a trend then I’ll be happy. Yesterday was my first full day in the country, and I seriously doubt my ability to translate its richness in a blog post, but I’ll give it a shot. After finishing my first blog post I grew restless and decided to venture outside my apartment before I was due to meet my Thai buddy at ten. I traversed several back alleys to get out to the main road, and made the random decision to go to my right. Within two blocks I had passed at least five small food carts, grilling chicken and beef right their on the side of the street on charcoal grills. They were selling sticky rice and fried and grilled things that I had never seen before. Because I still had no money I made the mental commitment to try them all at …

Day One: Awoken by Birds at Sunrise

It is the beginning of my first full day in Thailand, and I was lying awake in my bed around 5:30 am when I decided I might as well get up and do some reading. While in the bathroom I slowly noticed the sound of birds outside my window. It was still dark outside, but when I opened the window to my balcony I could hear a cacophony of calls and sounds. I will have to find a good resource pairing bird calls to species to figure out what exactly is right outside my window, but at any rate it was a truly excellent welcome to a country that I am just now seeing by daylight for the first time. You can look out the window and see birds of all shapes and sizes flying to and fro over the city, and by the sound of it there are a handful of species taking residence in the decent grouping of trees right outside my window. The trip here was rather long, and a quiet apartment …

En Route to Bangkok

Here it is, the maiden voyage of the blog and this adventure. I’m sitting in Charles De Gaulle airport in Paris, France, waiting to board a plane bound for Bahrain, which is my last stop en route to Bangkok. I’ll be spending the spring studying at Thammasat University in Bangkok, Thailand. Sitting on the precipice of adventure has always been a curious thing to me. I spent many months in anticipation of this trip. Looking forward to it has made it difficult to do homework and write my stories all of last semester. I’ve been kept awake at night with dreams of the vibrant culture, chaotic city, and the profound impact I hope it will have on me Now that it’s here, however, it’s a difficult thing to grasp. Growing up ski trips evoked a similar pattern for me. I would look forward to a Saturday of skiing all week until Friday night, when I inevitably questioned if I wanted to go at all. I never could bring myself to admit it to anyone, and …