I have now been in Thailand almost three weeks, which has been a very busy three weeks. I will try my best to summarize what has happened since I began my adventure. On January 8, I flew from Des Moines to Detroit. All the Peace Corps Thailand volunteers convened in the same city so the Peace Corps staff could give us a little pep talk, do ice breakers, and tie any financial lose ends before we left the country. The next day, all 52 of us Peace Corps Volunteers left for Thailand. It took us 22 hours to get from Detroit to Bangkok (which included a short layover in Tokyo)…needless to say I was exhausted by the time the plane landed. My initial reaction of Thailand was it was a lot more developed then I expected. The airport was clean, and reminded me a little bit of the Beijing airport. From the Bangkok airport, it was a two hour drive north to Singburi were our hotel was located. I was surprised at how smooth the roads were. After having experienced the bumping/non-sleepable roads of Ghana, these seemed like heaven. By the time I got to the hotel, I was beyond exhausted.
I spent the first week in a hotel in Singburi. Think of it like a conference; the Peace Corps staff set up general information session of what to expect for the next three months concerning safety, medical, financial and Thai culture. Within Singburi, I was surprised how available Western amenities were. They even had Nutella at the store right next to the hotel! Some highlights of this intial week in Thailand meeting the governor of Signburi, dancing to Thai karaoke and getting to know my fellow volunteers.
By the time Sunday, January 15, came, everyone could feel it was the big day. This was when all the volunteers found out who their host family would be for the next three months, during Pre-Service Training. You see, the Peace Corps has set aside three months for technical and language training before the two year commitment begins. During this time you are supposed to learn the base technical and language skills necessary to during your service. You stay with a host family for these three months. They provide breakfast, supper and any other help you need to adjust to the country. During the “reveal” of host families I was nervous–a lot could go wrong with the wrong family. I didn’t need to be. Once she recognized me, my host sister ran over and gave me a huge hug. On the way home, about 20 minutes outside of Singburi, we were cracking up at my bad pronunciation of Thai, how I could not say my younger cousin’s name properly and my continual note that “Paw-saa Thai mai ngaai!!”, which translates into “The Thai Language is not easy!!” The car ride was a blast, and I knew right then that it was going to be a good time!