Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Ok so I know I've been terrible about posting on this thing, but I am so busy and rarely have internet. I will try to catch up on all that I have been doing. First off, I LOVE my host family, I'm so lucky to have such a warm and friendly family and they keep me busy! We always have several activities on the weekends such as going to the temple, the waterfall, a show in Lopburi (the capital), even pedicure and manicure with my older host sister. They do so much for me that it's hard not to feel a little guilty, though as of late they have been letting me wait tables at the small restaurant in front of our house, do dishes (outside in a tub of course) and make some of the food that we eat for dinner. 
In other work, my studies of community development are really err... developing! The education that we are getting here is top notch and it is so hands on. My favorite activity has been participatory community mapping, in which we ask villagers to draw a map of their community pointing out spots of importance, leaders' homes, dangerous places, farmland etc. It was kind of hard to get them going at first, but eventually the project turned out to be great. 
Language is also coming along, it's really hard to believe that I've only been here 3ish weeks or so. Later this week we are having in depth interviews so that the staff can do a better job of deciding on our work sites. This is quite exciting but scary. 
Instead of trying to write out everything that has happened, I have decided to make a list of some of the highlights:
-Thai people ask me how much I weigh, how old I am, and tell me honestly what they think of my appearence, this was shocking at first, but then I realized that these are observations that are obvious to everyone.
-Then some Thai people ask me to guess their age, this makes me very uncomfortable; I always aim low. 
-I usually have no idea what is going on at the wat (the temple), but get blessed repeatedly. 
- going to the Tesco (basically Walmart) was quite disconcerting after 3 weeks in the small village, and fried rice with all white meat was super surprising!
- a cold beer can cool you off much more than water or coke
- Thailand really is hot, hotter and hottest.
- No one sleeps later that 6 am in my village!

All in all in, I love my life and work here, and couldn't imagine doing anything else. I don't miss America yet, but I do miss all of you and would love to get more emails from everyone!

Monday, February 9, 2009

so much has happened since i last posted, well a week has gone by...right after i ate the cricket i went to my room to get my bike pump for a maintenance class, as i was opening it, i sliced my finger open with my pocket knife, lots of blood, one trip to the hospital and four stitches later i was bandaged up and on pain killers...one week later (today) i got my stitches out and can finally get my hand wet and ride my bike again, its been a pain in the you know what...i've lost some feeling in the tip of my finger and can't bend it too well, but it should come back in about a month or so...
in other news i've moved into my homestay! i have a grandmother and grandfather an older sister and her 12 year old son...so far we all get along great and went sightseeing this weekend, but they dont speak english and i dont really speak thai....so you get the jist

tonight we are back at the hotel for thai night, it is a buddhist holiday so we are going to the temple in traditional thai clothes and then traditional dinner afterwards...later this week we are getting hardcore into language and job training, so i'm hoping to jump right in

hello to all and please send me emails updating on yalls lives etc. 


Sunday, February 1, 2009

I just at a cricket...and wanted to share...chew on that folks, chew on that.

First Few Days

I haven't written in so long, that I hardly know where to start. First things first, I am staying with the whole group in Chaibudan in Lopburi Province which is about 3 hours north of Bangkok. We have had lots of health and safety meetings, language intros, and lots of biking. As most of you know I was most apprehensive about biking. No surprise that I was placed in the novice group with about 14 other Peace Corps Volunteers...we were the ones that hit cones on the obstacle course. Since the course, we have practiced for about 12 hours total, even doing 8k on the open road to see the sites and to get used to the traffic...and guess what I did it!! I might even eventually like biking, though its not exactly enjoyable at this point. I've learned all the parts to my bike and can even change a tire and patch the tubes. I should be OKAYish
Yesterday we had a series of interviews with medical, homestay coordinators and our job technical coordinators...just so they could get to know us better. We talked about expectations, etc...I'm so impressed with the way that Peace Corps has been taking care of us and setting everything up for us. 
Speaking of that, on Friday night, the whole staff (both Thai and American) prepared a welcoming ceremony for all the volunteers. We entered a beautifully decorated room, and walked through the staff who were holding candles. After we sat down on the floor we learned about a good luck ceremony that entails strings tied around the wrist. When the strings are tied they are run over the wrist away from the body to remove the bad luck, apprehensions, and bad karma, then the good luck is run towards the body. All in all, I received about nine strings from the staff, each with a different message. My favorite was when a Thai teacher said I would get by with my sense of humor. We must wear the strings for at least 3 days, and we can't cut them off, they must fall off or be untied, and after this we should keep them somewhere safe.
The group is great. It's funny how fast you can make friends in a situation like this. I really am so happy to be here. I'm still a little nervous on my bike, but have improved so much that I know I will be fine. I'm also still adjusting to the heat. It's so hot out on the road (about 93 degrees on my ride yesterday) and this is the cool season!
Coming up: Moving into my homestay on Tuesday!