Wow, I can’t believe I’ve already been living in Bangkok for a month. When I think back to my final few days in Victoria, it feels so far away. I’ve truly settled into life here in the city.

Before I left, I spent a lot of time thinking about this opportunity in February and March. But April hit me like a tonne of bricks with schoolwork, and my exam period dragged on until the bitter end. I flew out only a few days after my exams and orientation ended. I had so much to do to prepare for this experience and say goodbye to my friends and family that I didn’t have time to obsess over all my fears and excitement. The first week here felt so long, strange, and different, especially after the rushed last few weeks before I left Canada. I felt like I was travelling and needed to get out and explore the city every day. I did do some exploring, but it was 40+ degrees, and I had to convince myself that it was ok to stay inside, that I had six months here to do everything I wanted. Consequently, I haven’t done as many touristy or sightseeing activities as I expected to by this point. So far I’ve been to Wat Po, Museum Siam, Chatachuk Market, and Maya and I did a day trip to Erawan National Park. Boy, was that hike up to the waterfall difficult! But it was so worth it when we got to jump into the waterfall pool and cool off!

At the top of the waterfall hike extremely hot and sweaty.

I’ve developed a routine here, and working Monday to Friday has helped me settle into life here. The last three weeks have flown by. I know the next five months will go by quickly, and I already feel like I’m running out of time to do everything I want here. I’m surprised at how normal life feels now after only a month. It doesn’t feel so foreign anymore, and I am getting to know my neighbourhood well. I eat at the local restaurant P’nings almost every day either for lunch or dinner, it is so so good. I’m still shocked by the sheer number of cats lounging around or running across the roofs and fences of houses though. There are at least ten cats in the lobby of our work, and they hang out with two roosters, a large white duck, and many many pigeons.

Rainy season is approaching quickly, and after getting caught in a torrential downpour while coming back from the train, I know it is no joke. I’m learning that you can’t leave the house without an umbrella or a rain poncho, water, and mosquito repellent. I got 11 bites after sitting outside at a coffee shop for just 30 minutes. The bugs love the rain. Even though it is very hot and sweaty, I still walk a lot on the weekends. When I walk to check out a restaurant or coffee shop, I arrive so sweaty that I can’t sit inside with the air conditioning because it is too cold. There is no in between; outside is hot and humid, and inside is too cold and dry.

I’ve been spending some time at the pool in our apartment building, and I want to commit to spending more time there and becoming a stronger swimmer. It’s also a great way to cool down after walking in the heat, and undoubtedly the best part of our living situation. Along with swimming, one of my other goals was to start going to the gym and join a yoga class. Although this is something I do not do at home, I am excited to add this into my new routine.

A rainbow after the rain.

Working at GAATW-IS has been great, although adjusting to working in an office took some time. The first week was difficult to stay inside and read for eight hours a day. But work has really picked up, and I have a lot of tasks to help prepare for our Women Workers for Change Forum next month. Lately, I have been summarising some of our partners’ projects and creating short biographies for each partner participating in the upcoming forum. I find it very interesting to read about the ongoing projects that GAATW-IS is supporting and to see its real-life impact. In addition to this, I have been creating surveys and doing desk research on social protections in different regions of the world and their impact on women and migrant workers.

All the women in the office have been so welcoming, and I feel like I’ve already made friends with them all. A few of us go for lunch together almost every day to P’nings or order food together. The other day, it was payday at the office, so we ordered a big meal of Korean fried chicken! Two of our coworkers are similar in age to us, and one has also just recently moved here from Ecuador. We’ve been doing some activities together and have gone out for drinks and dinner a few times. I am very happy to have met other women my own age to hang out with already.

I’m excited for the rest of this internship and so grateful for this amazing opportunity. I can’t wait to see what the next few months have in store!

Maya and I’s first Tuktuk ride going to meet Robyn for dinner.