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July 15, 2006 - Chiang Mai, Thailand

Culture Shock & Awe

Classes have started in earnest for the VIA program. So much for the walking around eating street food all day. Nose to grindstone!

We have had a number of classes on things ranging from Thai culture & food, to the culture shock that we are SURE to experience. It is a bit disturbing having somebody tell you that after the initial honeymoon at our teaching posts we are quite likely (almost assured) of hitting bottom. hmm… I’ll let you know when I get there.

Weather here has been pretty hot - although today it cooled down a ton and rained in the afternoon. Our last day of cross cultural training was today, a free day tommorow and then we start the ESL classes on Monday. The three country specific leaders have split us up over the last 2 days by country - my China is by far the smallest with 5 people. Vietnam has about 15 and Indonesia has about 9.

Since getting here most of the other vols have given me a shock - they all were accepted in February or March and went to a hostel retreat in California. The Guyuan post was not filled - the query is generally given with an eyeraise and “YOU took the Guyuan post? Oh…….”

Hurrah for me.

Been eating out alot - the campus is surrounded by a plethora of food stalls and restaurants. At first eating at each felt a bit like a crap shoot, drink the water, don’t drink the water, eat the mystery meat, etc. Dishes range from 5 bhat to 20 baht. Had bamboo grubs (5 bhat) today for lunch, a mystery meat curry dish (10 bhat) and coconut jelly - a magenta bag of liquid with chunks of jellied coconut - super sweet) for dessert. Yesterday we ate at the student canteen and had a fried talapia dish over rice with a ton of chilies… digestive tract still not the happiest camper, but it’s certainly getting better. Drinking water like its going out of style.

I’m about to crash again - and its not even 9 o’clock - what a baby.

Tumbleweeds... and no comments. How 'bout livening things up?

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