Monday, February 3, 2014

Thai-ing to Understand

Sorry for the lack of updates! There was a computer glitch, but it's fixed now, so here's the update!

I am living in a village of about 6,000 with a host dad (who's the mayor of the district), host mom, and 17-year-old host sister. 
My room when I first arrived, it's a lot messier now.

Here are some things I've experienced in Thailand so far:

Don Gedi, the re-enactment of an epic battle between the kings of Burma and Thailand that took place on elephants. The king of Thailand won.
Chinese New Year in Suphan Buri's Chinatown.

Riding past BEAUTIFUL rice paddies every day.
The oppressive heat of fog in Thailand. I did not love riding my bike the morning this happened.
The 100 year old market in Bang Pla Ma.
Going to temple on Sunday in Wat Pho Takuan.
So far I've been blessed with some really cool experiences. The culture here is rich and historical and it's been amazing to explore. People are really friendly, and you have to watch out because they LOVE to feed you. Thais are very direct, so they will feed you and then tell you that you are fat, and that's taken some getting used to, but they don't mean it maliciously. Today my family told me that when I lose weight I will be beautiful and I simply told them that I already am beautiful. I'm not going to lie, I've struggled with being told I'm fat all the time because I've always fought so hard to not let that define me, and I've lost so much weight the past 4 years, but I'm trying to just maintain face and know that I am beautifully and wonderfully made, and to understand that it's not so much and insult as an observation spoken out loud. Other than being called fat, the Thai's have shown so much warmth and hospitality to me. There is a concept here called "naam jai", which literally means "heart water"; it's basically a spirit of generosity, and making sure that everyone feels accepted and that their needs are met. Thais look out for each other, and I've definitely felt that here.

In short, has everything been easy? No. Are the people wonderful and am I so glad that I decided to do Peace Corps again? ABSOLUTELY!

Thursday, December 19, 2013

So, where to begin? I've hesitated ever starting a blog for this very reason, but I feel like all the cool kids are doing it so it's time I hop on the bandwagon.

I guess let's start at the very beginning (a very good place to start).

My name is Skylar, but Sky works too. I am 24 (but getting way too close to that 1/4 century mark). I love traveling, musical theater, singing, listening to music, and teaching. I graduated from Seattle Pacific University in 2009 with my B.A. in European Studies: Spanish. I'm actually an RPCV, I completed a Peace Corps service in Ukraine from '09-'11. I learned so much, and I'm not ready to quit learning, so I figure it's time for round 2.

Okay, so I'm blogging now because I am getting ready to start my Peace Corps service in Thailand as a TCCS volunteer, and I'm expecting some cool things to happen during this time and I'd like to share them with you as they occur instead of waiting 27 months. It sounds like my primary assignment will be teaching English to primary school kids, as well as working with local English teachers to develop curriculum. Of course, once I get there who knows what I'll actually be doing.

At this point, I am just crazy excited to get to Thailand and begin training! I'm a little nervous about the language, but I know that Peace Corps does a really good job with language training, so I'm not going to stress too much before I get there. I leave Wenatchee Jan.8th, and I'll go to D.C. on the 9th for orientation, and then off to Thailand on Jan.11th!

I've  noticed a lot of other volunteers have been posting their PC timeline, so here's mine:

November 2012: Applied to Peace Corps again
January 2013: Interviewed at PC regional headquarters in Seattle
January 2013 (like 3 days later): Received an nomination to "a Spanish-speaking country with a wet and dry season, leaving in August 2013". I was ecstatic (I had narrowed it down to Panama, Colombia, or Costa Rica), but a little bummed that I wouldn't be leaving until August.
April 2013: Received medical pre-clearance.
May 2013: Received an e-mail saying that they've changed my nomination and that I will now be going somewhere in the world and I'd be leaving January 2014. I'm not going to lie, I was crushed because I really didn't want to have to live in Wenatchee with my parents (even though I adore them) for an extra 5 months. I was so ready to leave and start a new adventure, so this little hiccup in my plans took quite a while to adjust to.
June 2013: Received my invitation to Thailand! There's a cool story with me and Thailand, but it's too long to type up, so if you really want to know then you can ask me some time. Just know that as soon as I found out I was like "Aha, this is perfect, I know I'm meant to go there."
September 2013: Received final medical clearance.
October-December 2013: Killed time by studying Thai and being anxious/excited to leave.