It's amazing how fast living in a new place changes your perspective and redefines your normal.
Where I once avoided crossing the street, terrified of the chaotic traffic, I am now part of the flowing mass, zipping in and out of cars, tuk-tuks, motorbikes with fruit stands welded onto the side, and the ocassional elephant.
Where I once marveled at how cheap everything was, I now think a meal over 30 baht (~$1) is fancy. I thought to myself yesterday (in all seriousness before I thought about it relation to the US), "I have to stop driving so much, fuel is really expensive here; I'm spending the equivalent of $3/week on gas." My internal budget adjusted with the receipt of my first paycheck in Thai Baht.
I have been here two months now, but it almost feels like I've never not been here. I was talking with a friend about how when you live abroad (for a defined amount of time), it's sort of on another time scale; a side box on the timeline of your life, rather than a year (or however long) tucked into other years of your normal life. Hence, the US seems worlds away.
A friend told me the other day that he couldn't imagine what my life was like in Thailand. While it is different in many ways, it seems there are always common elements to life, wherever you're living. I go to campus everyday, and with the pre-planned curriculum, showing up to teach actually take less prep than showing up to learn. I hang out with people my age in the teacher's common room, (which can never replace the TRiP office, but feels normal). I still eat several random meals per day, go on facebook, read in cafes, and am hopelessly addicted to coffee (but really, I can quit anytime...)
Yes, there are monks walking around the temple where I like to eat lunch, I drive to school on the left side of the road, and everything around me is in Thai, but I have a routine, a community, and everything I need. So all in all, life in Thailand feels normal.