I cannot believe that it has already been an entire month! So far things are going very well, but the heat can still be intense. It feels a little surreal to think back to my first week here and the struggles that basic things like eating, getting around etc. brought. I know that throughout this placement more struggles will occur, but for now it feels good to have gotten to a comfortable spot where I am a regular at “Pnings” (the local food spot that is across the street from my apartment) and I can walk around my neighbourhood without using google maps. I have also figured out how to navigate the metro and signed up for a gym membership that offers Yoga and Zumba classes. They are looking for a new Muay Thai teacher so hopefully they will find one while I’m here! I have only braved Zumba once so far, but it was full of laughter, awkwardness and sweat. During these fitness classes, when we are all laughing or groaning, I can’t help but think about how the language barrier is not preventing me from feeling connected with those around me. I am the only (visible) foreigner that attends the gym as far as I’ve seen, but I have not felt out of place, rather, l feel welcomed and accepted. Going to the gym is a routine that I did not have back home but I am enjoying it very much. My neighbourhood is small, and I like how I get to see the same faces often. Also, the featured image from this post is my rooftop, which I loove!
Working with GAATW these past few weeks has been interesting and I am learning a lot already. Although I am enjoying the work, adjusting to an office job has also come with some challenges. As I have previously only worked in the restaurant industry, sitting at a desk sometimes has me feeling quite restless. Additionally, I am not tech savvy and have had to watch numerous YouTube tutorials to be able to complete tasks. Nevertheless, I have always managed to get everything done on my own (except for when my keyboard randomly switched to a Thai keyboard mid project). I also have moments of feeling quite professional when I am typing away at my desk. Some work I have done so far includes, transcribing interviews with partner organizations, choosing quotes from past reports for social media, attending webinars/taking notes to send to co-workers, and lots of reading.
I first learned about GAATW during GDS 301, and it was actually the GDS program (Global Development Studies) that inspired me to apply to UVIC in the first place. I chose this program, along with Political Science, because I was interested in learning more about human rights, migration, and NGO work. Therefore, when I heard about the CAPI internship program, and GAATW specifically, I knew I HAD to apply. I knew that this opportunity would be an incredible learning experience that would help me shape my future aspirations. This was my main focus in the anxious (and excited) last couple of days in Victoria with my loved ones. I was also excited for the personal growth that living in a new culture by myself would bring. In my first month here, this growth already feels evident. I am proud of myself for how well I am navigating this experience so far and hope that this will continue as deeper challenges of loneliness and homesickness arise.
This past weekend I met up with the CAPI field school and ended up spending most of the day with the professors who were running it. I sent a selfie of my teacher Robyn Fila and I to a friend that took her GDS 300 class with me last year. Her response was, “wow, who would’ve imagined at the beginning of the year that you would be hanging out with Robyn and Greaves in Thailand!” I think that statement is a pretty accurate way to wrap up month/blog 1!
Left: Robyn and I in a tuk tuk on our way to get some lunch.
Right: Me at the Grand Palace.