When I landed in Thailand, I didn’t know what to expect. All I knew was that I would be in a part of the world that was unfamiliar and unattached from anything I had ever experienced before, so anything was possible. As I arrived to my hotel that was somewhere in Bangkok, I was greeted with what is known as the “Thai Smile.’ This brought a smile to my face and warmth in my heart knowing that the Thai’s have a pleasant demeanor that is welcoming and refreshing to see. This made me realize that I had come to the right decision for my uncertainty became at ease.
A World of the Unknown
Thailand was my first destination of choice for living abroad, due to the fact I had never touched the grounds of Asia before, the nature of the contract and truthfully, I wanted to see if I would be able to leave all that I knew in America for a place that was distant and unknown. I had always traveled; being the wanderer that I am but, it was always limited to weeks, so this made me ponder if I would I be able to call this place home that I knew very little about. In my heart, I knew that this adventure would be more than the norm, which is what made me jump at the opportunity.
Next Destination – Ubon Ratchathani
When I was first presented with my options for Thailand, I reviewed everything diligently to ensure I was picking the best option for me. So, after careful consideration, I accepted the offer for the province of Ubon Ratchathani in the placement at Phibunmangssahan School (PMS). I have a comfortable living arrangement, a normal salary for a foreigner in Thailand, and an area that looked promising. So, the next question I had to answer was, how was I going to fit 33 years of my life in a suitcase based on the information I had received. With no hesitation, I packed what I thought was appropriate including shorts, tank tops, skirts, sweaters, hygiene products, and pretty much the essentials to survive not knowing what Thailand had to purchase. This took no time and I was ready to go.
After spending very limited time in Bangkok for orientation, the consultants prepared all of us for our new destinations. They gave us all the details that they thought we needed and transportation options to get there. These transportation options included bus, train, and airplane. Though most decided to take the bus, me and another guy, Will decided to pay the extra to fly. After traveling 25 hours on a plane from the states, the last thing I wanted to do was get on a bus for 10 hours when I can fly for an hour and get to where I would call home for a minimum of four months.
Here I Come!
Once arriving in Ubon Ratchathani, my new buddy and I needed to get a taxi to travel 50 minutes outside to the town of Phibun. This taxi ride seemed a lot longer due to the anxiety of waiting to see what home would look like. After arriving, I settled into my new accommodation that was very pleasant and perfect for a quick nap before we ventured out to see what our new area offered. To my surprise, the school was quite easy to locate, along with the various grocery options of Big C, Tesco Lotus, 7-11 (very popular in Asia), and an outdoor market. We also noticed a beautiful river with a running path, an outdoor gym, and the friendly Thai people that would stop to glance and smile. They seemed very welcoming to us which was comforting.
Overall, my first five days in Thailand were busy, scary, and surprising but those feelings dissipated as soon as I saw my new town and the welcoming smiles that were presented. Though I still had my first day of school approaching, my feelings of being scared became lessened by the atmosphere of a happy culture that seemed quite peaceful.