First blog post!
Why a blog you may ask? After being here in Thailand for just over a week, I have realized how tough it can be to communicate with friends and family back home. It seems that almost every time I’m waking up, it is almost bedtime back in New York, and when I am getting ready for bed, the people I would love to chat to are getting ready for work! I decided a blog would be a good way to keep people updated with what I’m doing and how life is going, especially for those times that it may be tricky to catch each other.
Now a little background..
I decided I wanted to teach abroad sometime early on in senior year of college. I wasn’t exactly sure where yet, I thought about South America, Spain and Asia, but nothing seemed to be quite the right fit. Thailand was floating around in my mind, but I really did not know anything about it yet! Then my friend, Emily Heath, came back from teaching in Thailand for a wedding, and we got to chatting about her experience and how things were going for her. I could tell from the way she was glowing, how special of a place Thailand really was. I began to look into it a bit more, and more specifically the CIEE Teach in Thailand program. I remember starting my application so early knowing I would not find out if I got accepted for months, but I was so excited about the prospect of traveling to a whole new continent and exploring new cultures that I knew very little about.
I was accepted to the program sometime in March, but even at that point all I knew was that I was accepted! Finally in August, I got the exciting news that I had been placed at Sathitwittaya Chiangkham School to teach Kindergarten. I was so excited and also relieved to find out that my bff, Emma, who I would be traveling with had been placed in the same town at a different school. Things were finally starting to feel real.
After I found out my school, I had to start getting all my paperwork together to apply for my visa. One criminal background check, 2 passport photos, my diploma and a bunch of other paperwork later, and I had my visa! Once we had our visas, we could book our flights. Our big adventure was finally so close.
The week before my flight was one of the most intense/ strange weeks of my life. I was constantly going back and forth between being excited and wondering if this was really the right decision for me. Finally, Tuesday came (the night before my flight) and it was time for one last family dinner and to say goodbye to all of my extended family. We had a delicious dinner (Christmas shrimp) made by my grandma since I would be missing Christmas, and my mom made a delicious apple pie for dessert. It was really hard for me to say goodbye to my aunts, uncles and cousins, but especially to my grandparents. I found comfort in knowing that everyone is always a flight away and that it is only 6 months, but it was still a very tearful goodbye.
My first flight was Flight QR 702 from JFK to Doha Hamad International Airport in Qatar. After a long day of running last minute errands, saying tough goodbyes to my dad, brother and dogs, my mom and I headed to JFK. After shifting all of my bags around to meet luggage requirements (they even weighed my carry-on and it was 11 pounds overweight!!), Mom and I got my bags checked in and headed towards security.
Even at 22, saying goodbye to my Mom continues to be one of, if not the toughest thing I have had to do. Lots of tears were shed, but I know my parents are so proud of me for going on this adventure and I can’t wait for them to *fingers crossed* come visit me.
11 hours later and I landed in Doha Airport and quickly found my adventure buddy and partner in crime, Emma. It was so comforting to see a familiar face in this totally unfamiliar place, and I immediately felt a bit of relief. Unfortunately, our plane was delayed by 10-ish hours, so we waited, and ate some pizza, and napped, and waited some more, and finally it was time to get on our flight to Bangkok.
Our second flight was Flight QR 830, and it was by far the nicest plane I have ever been on. I unfortunately wasn’t able to sleep very much, but luckily they had a big movie selection. I found Eat, Pray, Love especially fitting to watch as I was beginning this little journey of my own (half kidding, half not). We finally landed in Bangkok 8 hours later and I had no idea what to think….
Coming in my next blog post: my first week in Thailand and all about Bangkok!