Friday, March 20, 2015

Joining the Ranks of the Peace Corps

Since arriving in Thailand on Jan. 11th, we have been wading through pre-service training, several months of technical and language instruction. All of that came to an end this week when 64 of us were finally sworn in as official Peace Corps Volunteers. We lost 7 along the way. We will likely lose more in the months to come. As we keep hearing, this is the toughest job you'll ever love.

Shared a tearful goodbye to my host family. They were so kind and generous to me since my arrival in Thailand. I am so grateful to them for making me feel like a member of the family. 

We met our teaching counterparts for the first time. I will be working with Jeab for the next two years in the city of Chanthaburi. It's located on the Eastern Seaboard above the Gulf of Thailand. That's my school director on the right.

Later that afternoon I was introduced to my new host family who I will be living with for at least the next month. As you can see in the picture below, they are incredibly sweet and made me feel at home immediately. 

I'm in love with my bedroom which features a/c and an on-suite bathroom. So much for roughing it in a jungle shack. :)

After a brief stint at an English camp today, Mary (another PCV from my group stationed in Chanthaburi) and I went with our co-teachers to the beach. School isn't in session until May, so we have a little time to rest and recover before things get crazy again. 


Saturday, March 07, 2015

The Rest of Pre Service Training (PST)

Things got kind of crazy these past few weeks, so this post is a quick catch-up of what we've been up to. We had a mandatory cultural trip to a neighboring area. Most of us went to Lop Buri, a city overrun by monkeys. If the rage virus from 28 Days Later ever surfaces, this place will be ground zero.

 David getting monkey attacked

I stumbled upon hundreds of ladies dancing in rhythm inside a temple. Pretty impressive. 

We also took a trip to Bangkok to visit the Peace Corps office. 

Visited the old train station and a cool temple near Chinatown.

We held a successful English camp for the some of the local kids. We will all be organizing these camps at our new sights. 

A selfie from lunch out with my host brothers

And finally, this ASEAN poster. Bad English translation in the third line. 

Monday, February 09, 2015

Out and About in Bang Rachan

We are now halfway through our Peace Corps Training (PST), and the light at the end of the tunnel is nearly visible. Home life with my Thai family is great! While communication is basic--no deep thoughts are being exchanged--we still manage to be understood and enjoy each others company.

My little host brother busted up his arm playing soccer. I've taken over some of his dinnertime responsibilities, like setting the table and pouring water.

I have a lot of fun hanging out with our next door neighbor and her kids. 

Our afternoon badminton games are pretty intense. We use a dirt lot, marking the boundaries with broken bricks. There's no net. This is Goon. She's awesome.

This is Chuck. He hosted a PCV 3 years ago and has befriended many of group 127. His English is amazing. 

He's standing next to a jack fruit tree in his front yard. Those watermelon sized fruit with spikes on the outside. They look like a weapon. 

 This weekend he took me, Anna, and Rhianna on a tour of the surrounding area.Our first stop was at this cool little organic market where we loaded up on treats. Loved this old lady.

Eventually made it to a festival with tons of vendors. Could have used a few extra stomachs. But my first order of business was to buy a hat. The sun was brutal.

This trip was unexpected, unplanned, and I had no idea where we were going and when we'd be back. PCVs call this being Thaiknapped. Happy to have my first experience with it.