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Melady’s Travel Diary

Wednesday, 07 Jan 2009

Location: Gang Sanam Nang, Thailand

MapHere I am in Bungpalai school, Gang Sanam Nang. Where do I even begin. Well I met with Karmen (another volunteer travelling to the same district) She was impressed that I knew she spoke Dutch, coming from Belgium, but I only knew that from Simon at the guesthouse. Yesterday we took the bus 5 hours to Chaiyaphum to meet with Ae's family. They treated us to a huge dinner and taught us how to eat the Thai way... cut with fork, eat with spoon, and take only one spoonful at a time from the dishes in the middle of the table. (I already find myself thinking/speaking in broken or simplified english) I awoke to Paw's fighting cocks crowing. What a strange new world I have stumbled into! Breakfast was rice, sweet tofu, a kind of pumpkin with custard and traditional Issan stew. I love the food here. After eating, Karmen and I took a local bus to this district. Here everyone looks at me and says "Farang, farang so beautiful" Pee Ann (the english teacher here) speaks english very well. She told me today that I will give a speech tomorrow in front of the whole school... all 500 students! Oh well I shouldn't worry (mai bpen rai), most speak very little english. I am living with Pee Mam and Pee Tukata (pee just means older sister) so that we can help each other with the languages. They are so wonderful. I will write more about them once I get to know them, right now much gets lost in translation. I do know that everyone here loves karaoke! I have a small room. There are so many holes in the window screens and only failed attempts to fix them with pink duct tape. This of course means there are thousands of insects. Even with this net around my pad on the floor they still get in. No worries. I actually enjoy this rural way of life. When daily life is filled with practical hardships, then there is no need or room to manifest trivial problems. I'm just getting used to the bathrooms here as well. We squat and use hands to wash, there is no toilet paper. It really makes more sense this way. Isn't it strange that in the west people don't wash with water after using the toilet? Also we bath with a small pouring bowl, the water drains out a tiny hole in the bathroom wall. We bathe morning and night since everyone here is very hygenic, but the water is so cold!
I have so much more to write but I have to sleep because I want to call home tomorrow morning. One thing I must say though is I can't believe I'm here, it's so surreal. The past few days a great high has swept over me and I can't stop smiling. I want to learn/teach/grow/explore/create and just breathe. Wow, I love it here.