Hello again! Writing to you this time from exotic Bangkok!
This morning was fairly uneventful-woke up, packed, then Natalie picked me up from the Y and we took a cab to the airport where I got on a plane headed for THAILAND!!! (Btw Natalie, I did find the Baakwa (?) at the airport but forgot to use my $5 discount on it.)
When I arrived at the airport, I made it through immigration and customs (phew!) and then headed out to find the Cross-Cultural Solutions worker who was there to pick me up. There were sooo many people waiting to meet their family members at the airport and I was getting nervous that I wouldn’t find her. I was so relieved to hear a voice from the crowd saying, “Katrina!” Uan and I jumped in my second cab of the day (this one was bright pink!) and headed for the CCS home-base.
Today was very relaxing, just hanging out and getting to know everyone a little bit. There are girls here from Maine, Texas, Minnesota, and other places that I have now forgotten. There are a few boys, but not many. Everyone is sooo nice! I went on a walk with 3 of the other girls around our neighborhood and to the local shopping center to explore. The CCS house is located in a fairly decent neighborhood, all things considered. The house has 2 levels. I share a bedroom with 5 other girls (3 bunk beds) and we have a large closet and small bathroom. There are 3 or 4 other bedrooms in the house, I think. We have a kitchen with cooks that make us 3 meals a day, an outdoor porch, and a few lounging areas. The house is semi-air conditioned, but there are a lot of areas that are open to the outside, so it’s pretty hot in most of the house. There is a small yard with some swings, tables, and a punching bag thingy. I’m hoping to learn some Thai kickboxing!
Tonight I was filling out some paperwork with one of the other girls when we looked out the window and saw the neighborhood kids playing in a little open lot next to ours. There was a little cement area where they were riding their bikes and a pile of sand on the cement that they were playing in. One little boy had some kind of hand-held music player and was teaching some kind of Asian hip-hop dance to the girls. Boy, could that kid move! Fascinated and extremely entertained, we watched them for about 15 or 20 minutes before getting back to the paperwork.
There are a few people who have been here for 3 weeks and one of them has been volunteering at the school I am going to. She said she absolutely loves it and that the kids and teachers are really friendly and love the volunteers! I can’t wait to get started!
I can already tell a huge difference between clean, cushy, care-free Singapore and dirty, troubled, chaotic Bangkok. I do miss Singapore and have been finding myself thinking in “Singlish” since I left. I think the next 4 weeks will be difficult, but rewarding. The program seems great so far and there is a lot of support around from the staff and other volunteers.
Tomorrow we start our orientation, so I’m really looking forward to that. Everybody is really jet-lagged and they are all sleeping already. I’m definitely enjoying having gotten over that earlier this week.
Well, I’ve got a big day tomorrow, so I’d better stop rambling.
Thanks for reading and I’ll be sure to update soon!