Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Let's keep this one brief.

Well my school looks remarkably like a palace, it's a little disconcerting honestly.  Not that I don't appreciate the painted dome ceilings or rooms made out of gold, it's just a stark contrast to how people live in the real Thailand.  I've seen a pretty decent chunk of the world, and I can't help but wonder if a little modesty could have freed up some resources for more scholarships and grants for students who otherwise could not afford tuition.

It's also a bit strange to receive so much special treatment as an American at this school, particularly a Loyola student.  Guards and attendants tend to look the other way at misbehavior, the school goes out of its way to do extra for us- everything is just made a little easier.  I love and appreciate this, but again, I hope this doesn't instill an undeserved sense of privilege in me that I probably have enough of from being male, middle class, and white.

I'm getting a bit closer with my group, which is good.  I think I've been moderately successful at overcoming how shy and disassociated I naturally am, although I haven't made enough of an effort with the Thais.  I'm going to try to change up my schedule to take more classes with local students to force myself out of my comfort zone more, and try to take initiative to get things going myself.

I really hate blogging: this still feels rather self-indulgent.  So I'm just going to cut to a couple observations to round it out:

-Finally getting Mcdonald's was a miraculous meal that may have rivaled The Last Supper.  I can already see a new Dan Brown book about this.
-Contrary to what The Hangover II shows you, no one rides elephants down town.  Everything else was pretty spot on.
-Our National Anthem gets totally blown out of the water by the Thai anthem.  We need to do some new composing and step our game up.
-I think we should have a king.  Everyone loves the Thai King.  Just makes the whole country feel cooler.  I nominate Justin Timberlake.  Anyone who brings sexy back must be some kind of royalty.
-In an hour, I'll be 20 here but only 19 to my friends back home.  Sweet contradictions.
-No matter where you go, you cannot fucking escape fucking Nickelback.  I'm usually going to try to avoid that kind of diction in this blog, but holy balls they suck.

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

a few days in...

A sixteen hour plane-ride is long enough to turn The Green Hornet into an incredible movie.  It's long enough to make a bed of rocks feel like a temperpedic mattress.  It's long enough to make the Rosie O'Donald look alike six rows ahead look like an 8/10 with just two glasses of wine.  But it's not long enough to get to Bangkok.  We needed two plane rides for that.

Sometimes in cities you walk over a sewer grate and feel a sticky, humid heat that you don't want to know the source of.  The source of it is probably Bangkok.

Asian languages and their accompanying accents cannot be exaggerated or characterized.  Anyone who says otherwise is overly sensitive or lying.  The squeaks and curves blend vowels and consonants together in such a way that Lil Wayne sounds articulate in comparison.

One dollar is about 30 baht.  I'm terrible at arithmetic, but I'm getting really good at multiplying and dividing by 30.

Bad music in America is still bad music in Thailand, arguably made more annoying by the fact that one would think several thousand miles would be enough of a distance to hide from Lady Gaga's new single or whatever else is hot with the kids right now.

You can make yourself more attractive by changing countries.  I haven't been hit on by this many girls since I pretended to be the Macaulay Culkin in the Amsterdam airport pre-Africa.

 KFC in Thailand is sort of like KFC in America: It's still sketchy as hell.

Peanut Butter is a hot, expensive commodity, but it comes with a free soy milk- juice box.

In theory you drive on the left side of the street in Thailand, but the truth is no one seems to really care what side of the street you're on.

Thai beers are bigger.  Bigger is better, everywhere in the world.

Saturday, May 21, 2011

One Day Away.

I'm not much for blogging.  In the Xenga craze of 7th grade I thought it would be cool to give it a shot; I think I made it through about half a post before I felt too self-indulgent to continue.  In high school I was too preoccupied with the daily dramas and chaoses that occur when you lock a thousand hormonal teenagers into one barely air-conditioned building.  And in college I never felt I had time for such things, even though all four of the writing teachers I've had thus far have recommended it.  So I think it may be a challenge to actually keep up with this thing, even when I have the strangest parts of the world to fuel my posts.  But it's a course requirement for my travel writing class, so I guess that's one way to motivate an infamous slacker and introvert into sharing his feelings and experiences with the online "community", whatever that is.

Everyone keeps asking me why Thailand?  Isn't that a little crazy?  Don't most people go to Europe or something?  That essentially is why I picked Thailand.  I wanted to go wherever people usually don't, wherever things would be most strange and unfamiliar, wherever I'd be most uncomfortable.  All signs point to Thailand and its neighboring countries being the perfect destination.  This could very well be a mistake, but I think the dangerous aspect of it makes it all the more exciting.

I'd be lying if I said I was ready to leave.  I have no idea what's going to be there, so I can't exactly prepare myself for it.  But that is not the cause of my hesitation.  The strongest piece of my current apprehension isn't what's there, it's what's here: I love my friends.  Some of them I'm worried for; I feel I'm leaving them at the worst possible time.  Others I know will be here when I get back, the same as they've always been.  The hardest are the friendships I've begun to doubt: people I love dearly who don't seem to reciprocate the efforts I put in.  I hope things won't feel that way on my return.  Regardless, I will miss them all terribly.

My family will be equally missed, but are less a cause of apprehension: I know they'll be the same, amazing source of love and support I've always had, no matter where I am in the world.

I sincerely hope I can bond with my group.  Most people don't see this, but relating to others is often very difficult for me.  I don't really know any of my fellow travelers, but I hope I come to value and trust them the way I do my closest friends now; we'll all need each other before long.

I could continue for quite some time to list my hopes, fears, and expectations: I hope I get some comedy material out of this, I fear burning to a crisp under the hot Thai sun, I expect a few hundred "oh shit" moments, etc.  But again, none of these things are really going to matter once I step foot on that plane tomorrow.  It's like the best of roller coasters: each twist and turn will be wild, new, unexpected.  I might at times feel like I'm going to die, or at the very least, throw up.  But when the ride comes to its all too soon finish, I'll just want to get back on.