Thursday, January 17, 2013

Thai Time

What can I say?

Being in Thailand is nothing short of incredible. After a long delay in San Francisco, we made it to Thailand, by way of Tokyo. Plane rides in the recent past have been filled with reading, movie watching, and sleeping.  All of these played a secondary role on this flight as I was surrounded by 50 people, most of whom I still didn't know the names of, with the same 27 month chunk of their lives set on a common goal. Friends were made. Nervous laughter was shared. Anticipation filled the back of our airplane cabin as we finally landed in Thailand.

Leis, introductions, and instructions followed and with heavy bags, droopy eyelids, and high hopes we loaded our luggage on a truck and boarded the bus to our hotel. Night turned to day far faster than I'd hoped. Life in Thailand officially began. Meeting the staff and teachers (some of the most likable people I've ever meet) and getting a glimpse, however vague, of what the next few years will hold has been a tremendous pleasure.

Cross Cultural training has covered everything from doing your personal business in Thai restrooms, laundry, mealtimes, using mosquito nets, to how to dress, how to greet, and how to behave with your host families and beyond. Language work has readied us for introductions, locations, numbers, money, and phones. My arms are sore from 6 different shots so far. My legs are feeling the sweet aches of getting to know a new place by foot and pedal.

Monday was intro after intro of all the important info and training. Tuesday was more of the same, plus purchasing cell phones and a very special evening complete with a Bai Si Suu Kwan and welcome dinner. Yesterday, we met the vice governor and continued our studies. Today, we got our bikes and rode through beautiful green fields of rice paddies of the . As the breeze blew past, making the blades of green below shiver with excitement, I felt a similar string in my heart vibrate. I'm full of song and deep gratitude.

I would be remiss not to mention the people I'm working with. Sometimes I can't help but recognize them as old friends already. There are those I feel I've known forever. Others who bear striking resemblances, either in action or look, to people in my life back home. As I grow to know my new family, there is a definite knowing that our connection will deepen, but I am so grateful for some of the times I have shared so far. Laughing at our own folly, sharing new foods, breathing in silent moments with a smile, congregating in the hallway for chats and better internet reception. Precious moments all, however mundane they may appear to the outside eye. The beginnings of a beautiful family of volunteers.

And it's not over yet...