I have arrived!
After a very, very long flight from Chicago to Seoul to Bangkok, I finally arrived on Tuesday evening. So far it's been go, go, go with orientation by CIEE's partner in Thailand, the Overseas Education Group (OEG).
I've had my first Thai lesson, my first teaching lesson, an introduction to Thai culture, and yesterday Nell and I finally got some details on what we're doing at our school when we had a chance to meet with our coordinator. We will be teaching in the English Program, a special program at the Sanguan Ying School for students who have been selected because they are good at speaking/understanding the language - sweet! I will be teaching 7th grade or M1 reading and writing and 9th grade (M3) reading and writing and fundamental English (basically conversation). I will only have 25 students in each class, about 16 per week at 50 minutes a piece. This is definitely lucky considering the other teachers at our school have been told they will be teaching to a class of 40-50 students. We were also informed that on Tuesdays we have to wear a pink shirt, on Wednesdays a white T-shirt for the English Program, and on Thursday a school uniform. Guess it's time to go shopping for pink! We're teaching in the city of Suphan Buri in the province of Suphan Buri and our apartment is supposedly right next to the school, which will make for a very easy commute.
So far a highlight of Thailand has been the food, obviously. It's been entertaining to walk up to a food stand and point to a picture but have no idea what I'm ordering, and what I get always looks vastly different than the picture -but it still tastes delicious! A few of us went to dinner one night and when they brought the food out none of it looked like anything we had ordered, so we all just picked a dish that looked good and went for it. I'm definitely going to have to get over my picky eating habits since I will likely have no idea what I'm eating for the next year. I've at least mastered the food basics: Chicken (Gai) and Pork (Moo). I'm still learning the proper ways to eat - Thais don't ever use knives, they use the fork as a knife to push the food onto a spoon, which is what they use to eat everything. I've had some difficulty trying to cut my food with a fork and spoon - especially chicken wings with last night's welcome dinner...it was not pretty.
We went to the Grand Palace yesterday, a beautiful sight to see, last time I went (in 2004) we had no tour guide, so it was great to hear a bit about the Palace and Thailand history as we explored. Up next: a few more Thai lessons, some teaching practice, and on Monday - a trip to Kanchanaburi to ride elephants and go bamboo rafting. From there it's off to my new home for the next year - Suphan Buri! I can't wait to finally not be living out of a suitcase and to explore my new digs. Here's a few pics of my adventures so far...