Thursday, July 3, 2008

Motorbikes & Mangosteens: I live in Thailand

I have been living in Chiang Mai, Thailand for about 3 weeks now and I'm loving it. I am teaching English to 1st and 2nd year students at Chiang Mai Univeristy (locally know as Mawshaw - note: there is not really any standard romanization for Thai, so mine may seem funny, but this is my blog to I'll spell Thai however I want to!) My students are quiet but sweet; more about them later.

I live in a 1-bedroom apartment (it's sadly really dormy, but I'm making it nicer slowly but surely) in the west part of town. There is an "old city" inside a moat in Chiang Mai and I am in a newer part of the city with a mall and lots of stores, restaurants and bars. 

Chiang Mai is much more "city" that I expected it to be (2nd largest city in Thailand) but is still really pretty in parts despite having loads of concrete in other parts. The campus is beautiful and green,

 there are lots of peaceful wats (temples) around town, 

and about a million serene little coffee shops that make you feel like you're isolated in a jungle (with delicious fresh brewed coffee). 

Chiang Mai has lots of expats, which can be good and bad. It does mean that there are lots of different interesting opportunities (some of which may or may not have existed without the expat crowd). I have been to a Jazz History class, a swing dancing class, yoga classes, French cinema night, an Independence Day Party at the American Consulate and have been trying to find a good way to learn Thai besides asking random students at the end of class. 

I only teach 15 hours/week so I have lots of free time. I have been to several markets (where I took full advantage of my current latitude, purchasing copious amounts of tropical fruits),

including the motorbike market, climbed at the bouldering wall, seen the Chiang Mai Youth Orchestra perform, read, written, watched movies, and gone out to lots of dinners and bars with new friends (mostly other foreign teachers, but some Thai teachers & climbers, too).

I will be writing and posting pictures about my life here and travels to surrounding areas. Some of you may have noticed that I was actually good about keeping in touch for a few weeks there while I was lonely, but now that I have some more friends I will probably go back to being terrible :( 

However, now I will have a blog so you will at least know what I'm up to if you care to check.

I am always open to visitors and I promise you will have a good time, so come visit me!

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