Greetings from Chiang Mai, Thailand! A few fun facts about this city:
- Chiang Mai is Thailand’s second largest city, after Bangkok
- Chiang Mai means ‘New City’
- Chiang Mai city area has over 300 Buddhist temples
- There are estimated to be over 20,000 expats living in Chiang Mai
I first visited Chiang Mai back in March on vacation and I loved the feel of it – smaller city with lots of historic charm. I felt safe wandering the streets alone at 6 am when nobody was outside yet. It was the first time on that trip that I thought I could actually live here.
So, I’m back to the place where living/teaching in Thailand was just a small idea – now it’s my reality. Crazy how much can change in a few months. Quite literally, my vacation became my life.
As my parents and Peanut (my dog) dropped me off at the airport on Friday, I couldn’t stop crying. It was terribly difficult to leave them. I cried in the airport, on the 13 hour flight to Beijing (which may also have been due to the man behind me who took off his shoes/socks and stuck his smelly feet on my arm rest, but I digress), in the Beijing airport FaceTiming with my parents, and on the five hour flight to Chiang Mai. As brave as I’m trying to be, this is still one of the scariest, if not THE scariest, things that I have ever done. I’m leaving all of the comforts of home and my support system to try something new in a completely different location.
Today was my first full day here. I woke up around 2:00 pm (thanks, sleeping pills!), unpacked and organized my room, showered, and ventured out into the city. I walked down my street and bought some essentials and checked out the food stands along the way. I saw a beautiful statue/shrine of Ganesh along the way, which I cant wait to go back and take a picture of. I got some Dunkin’ Donuts iced coffee – it was nice to have a little piece of home today! Also, I saw a woman bagging up some animal blood for sale – I don’t care what Anthony Bourdain says, you would not be able to pay me to eat straight up animal blood. And, there was man just giving another man a tattoo right there on the street – no tattoo shop or anything – wonder how clean that situation was.
I start TEFL (teaching English as a foreign language) training tomorrow. I was hoping to meet some of my classmates today but didn’t really see anyone around the hotel! I’ll meet them tomorrow at 8:30 am – our classroom is only a 10 minute walk away, so very convenient. I was told that most of the students are from the US, with others from the UK, Australia and New Zealand. I think that I will start to feel more comfortable after I make some friends and get used to the area.
I’ll post more after I have some classes this week.
Love these two!