Week Two in Bangkok: Settling in and Starting Work
My second week in Bangkok was a big week.
On Sunday I moved into my new apartment and on Monday I started work. I always find it hard sleeping the first night in a new apartment (though sleeping in a hotel is not a problem). The bed is never quite right and something about it always just feels off. Luckily I had my sheets from Budapest to make it feel a little more familiar.
On Monday, we started our new teacher orientation and I finally got to meet all of the new teachers. We are a big cohort (about 42 new teachers) and the vast majority are couples/families. Still, everyone is very nice and I found some people to hang out with here and there outside of school time.
The orientation week started with getting to know our new school, new colleagues, and our host country. As the week went on, we started getting into the nitty gritty of our day-to-day working and teaching lives. Suddenly everything was becoming real. It’s hard to not compare everything to how you used to do it at your old school (in some cases it’s an improvement and in other cases it doesn’t seem to be!). I am still only starting to get a feel for what my department is like, what I will be teaching, and what I will be expected to do every day. Next week, that will start to come into focus a lot more as the rest of the staff returns on Monday and we will start to get into the real work of planning for the return of students and the first semester. I am feeling a little nervous about being ready after our four work days next week (Friday is a public holiday).
In terms of getting settled in, it’s happening slowly, but it is happening. I unpacked all of my bags and having a clean and organized apartment went a long way to settling in. Still, it doesn’t feel like home. I still don’t have internet, so when what I really want to do in the evening is watch some TV on the couch, I can’t do that yet. I also feel like certain tasks such as banking, looking at stuff for school, and other things online are piling up, so that makes me feel a little anxious that I’m not keeping my life under control. But, the internet should be set up on Tuesday and I have a beautiful new couch coming soon which I think will really make everything feel homier.
I’ve also started to make some good progress on my shopping list for the apartment. I’ve been to the big mall called Central World where I bought the couch and some other household items, and then I went to Ikea for a big shop (including a much-needed mattress pad!). Today, I got some furniture for the balcony as I have been loving sitting out there in the evening despite the warm and humid air. Once all of this gets delivered this week, I’ll be feeling much better, I’m sure.
Another thing that I’m not quite settled with is cooking at home. All summer, I’ve been looking forward to getting my apartment so I could finally cook myself a meal. Eating out every meal for an entire summer is really a lot. But I’ve been struggling to buy groceries because I don’t know what I want to buy or what I would feel like eating/making. I also need to figure out a balance between finding all of the comforts of home at the fancy import grocery stores that are super expensive and just buying staples that are locally priced. So far I have not been to what I would consider a “local” grocery store. I did finally buy the ingredients for one of my favorite summer salads and made an approximation of the recipe.
Hopefully, this upcoming week I will start to feel more comfortable in both my apartment and at work.
Remember, you can follow my daily updates on my 365 Day in Bangkok album on Flickr. Still going strong with the photo a day!