This is what you’ve all been waiting for! I know!
So because I have been distracted going to Pattaya and writing about Pattaya, and also the whole contract issue, I know I brushed over a lot of the details about my new home. So let’s dive in, shall we?
I want to start out by saying that I think a lot of my happiness comes from the fact that I had very realistic expectations.
I don’t want to talk shit on any of my fellow teachers…but some of the complaining posts being put on Facebook I just have to shake my head. I think my cockroach-infested place in Malaysia really sank my expectations, so when I was put on a whole big floor of a colorful cockroach-free apartment building I was overjoyed.
So you walk up three flights of stairs to arrive at this room. It is huge. There’s a big kitchen table, though only one chair. And then there’s a fully functional kitchen. Well, I should say “potentially fully-functional” because I can’t get the stove to work. And I haven’t really washed any dishes yet or anything. Actually I haven’t really used the kitchen at all except to story my peanut butter and Pringles.
On a totally random side note: I was rereading my Malaysian blog and totally forgot that I had personified my hunger. Remember Hungry Janet? There’s also Sleepy Marge. So, I’m gonna bring them back. Say Hello to Hungry Janet everyone!
Then there are two side rooms off the big one. This one in mine. There isn’t really anything in there, but a TV that I haven’t tested yet. I haven’t really had any desire to watch TV since being here.
Then there are two bed rooms.
At first I chose the smaller one.
I say “at first” because originally that first night they said I got my pick of the whole place. I chose the smallest bedroom firstly, because it had better furniture, and secondly, because it was slightly farther away from the freeway.
Oh yeah I forgot to mention the only downfall of this place…
It’s literally right next to the freeway.
I thought just a littler distance would help. But when I returned from my Pattaya vacation I was told that Teacher Megan from last semester was going to return and she was going to want to use her room again. So I had to move…:(
So, now I’m back to the freeway room.
Luckily I bought some ear plugs!
Let’s talk about my school.
So the first day I was here was probably the longest amount of interaction I’ve had with my school yet. Teacher Jane took me to run errands. Bless her. Teacher Jane I really like, but her English isn’t super great. Nonetheless I really appreciate her.
That first day I came down like “breakfast?” “coffee?”. And so she took me to a coffee place. And then she was like “what do you want for breakfast? Rice? Chicken? Bread?”
I was like “maybe bread? Do you guys have toast?”
“Toast! Like bread…” Then I mimed toasting bread and eating it. “Crunchy?”
Teacher Jane is reasonably confused.
Finally she looks up toast in her phone. “Oh toast!” Then she made it her personal mission to get me toast. Lol.
Luckily 7-11 had toast no problem! You actually bought this little toast sandwich with jelly in the middle and then they toasted it for you.
So Hungry Janet was satisfied by that. Then teacher Jane took me to get a sim card for my iPhone. I chose AIS as the prepaid carrier I wanted because that was what my phone had connected to automatically. But at the time I didn’t know that I had made a mistake.
I wanted a good internet plan. But the deal is that Teacher Jane didn’t know a ton of English and neither of us really had a great idea about phone plans I think. But I got my phone. And it was pretty much working. I was excited I wouldn’t have to go up on my roof to communicate with people.
Then we went to Big C. Which is basically Thai Walmart.
Home sweet home.
And this trip was kind of unexpected. She was like “You need shampoo?” And I was like…yeah I do. So we basically just bought hangars and shampoo. This is not my last Big C adventure though, people. I have been numerous times already. It’s one of the places in Thailand that I feel like I really understand. Retail. I get that. This is cool. Fluorescent lighting and white tile floors? I can jump onboard this bandwagon.
Then we went to go get me a scooter!
They had a whole segment in our orientation about the danger of getting a scooter…and what’s the first thing I do?
Well, I don’t know if I wrote about this story yet, but I was talking to the one teacher and asking how to get to town. And he just kind of looked down at the bus station like “there’s a bus, but I don’t know how to tell you which one to take. You should get a scooter”
So for the low price of 1600 baht (a steal) a month.
So let’s talk about Phrae.
If you had talked to me before I left you would know that I was essentially expecting to be in the middle of nowhere. And actually…that’s pretty far from the truth.
Phrae actually reminds me a lot of Tanjung Malim where I was staying in Malaysia. There are big grocery stores, there are car dealerships, there are restaurants, there are bars. There is really everything you need.
There are about a dozen of us from the OEG orientation that are in the area. Most are in the city and I’m the one who’s about a 20 min scooter ride out.
Charlotte, the one from OC, is close to Big C. Bless Charlotte. She is probably one of the best friends I’ve made here so far. She’s so chill, so mature, and totally goes along with me when I try to be funny. Then Alex lives kind of right in the center of the city. He’s the one from Canada. Alex’s energy is so high all the time. He kind of reminds me of buddy the elf…in a totally good way. Kim lives about a 5 minute scooter ride away from Alex and Charlotte. Kim I previously mentioned was the one that went to Pattaya with me.
Those three I find myself spending the most time with. There are 3 girls: Tara, Sam, and Arienne that are at a school together. We see them like every few days maybe. And then there is this Irish couple that is around: Peter and Megan. And Peter is like half-Thai so they always seem to have a handle on this whole country. They’re kind of always doing their own thing.
I realized I said a dozen because that’s how many people are in our Phrae Facebook group, but those are the only people I’ve hung out with here.
What have we found in Phrae:
Night Market: That first night Alex was taken to the night market with his group of teachers and I drove in to meet him. We were so happy to see each other that night. Though, if I’m talking about the night market…it’s not really that much to see. I mean, after the Chiang Mai night markets it was definitely a disappointment.
Thai BBQ: That first night Alex’s teachers also took us to this Thai BBQ place, that if I can ever find again, I will be taking all the visitors there. It was cool. One of those places where they put a grill on the table, a bunch of raw meat and you just cook everything yourself.
Coffee Shops: There’s this one place called Gingerbread house that is very western and they have goo breakfast and coffee. Everyone usually orders waffles, but I’ve never actually eaten a waffle there yet. And we also found this place that has really good coffee, actually coffee that I got to make myself. Which was wacky, but also enjoyable.
Good Restaurants: There’s this place across from Alex’s school that we’ve been back to several times. No they don’t speak English, and the menu is completely unreadable. But we know which item on the menu is cashew chicken. So that’s what we order. Nad it’s bomb. There’s this other place by Kim called Wee Wee and that’s the place where I got buffalo wings. And last night we went to this place called the Laughter house which, despite being difficult to find, had really good food. Though, we tend to just order Pad Thai, Friend rice, Tom Yam, and Cashew chicken. I mean…when it’s working…
Bars: We actually managed to find some beers in Phrae. There’s one close to the shopping center we found. It even has a pool table. The first time we were there we actually ran into this ex-pat from Bristol named Greg who seemed overjoyed to see other white people in Phrae. He had a few beers with us and told us about his “potentially illegal” business down south. When in Thailand, I guess? And this last weekend the people visiting actually helped us find this strip of bars. One was called Beach Bar and it was like a restaurant around a big pool. I don’t think you’re supposed to swim, but Alex did anyway.
I’d say for a week of being here, we’re doing pretty well. And I’m doing really well on the navigation front. Turns out I have a super power and that’s navigating myself in new places. Turns out I’m like really good at remembering directions.
Hungry Janet even found a brand of noodles that she likes.
So we’re all doing well here. The only thing I haven’t gotten a handle on is actually teaching. I was supposed to start today…but maybe I’ll start tomorrow.
I’ll keep you updated on when I finally get to meet all my little babies.