Emails from Abroad #5

Written to my family after the first day of my one-month TEFL course in Chiang Mai, Thailand, November 28th, 2011.

“I’m finally in Chiang Mai!  Yay!  I arrived Saturday evening around 5:30…overall had a pretty smooth day of traveling.

“We had our first class today, and it went really well.  Our primary instructor is really great; his name is Pete, and he’s originally from London but has been in Thailand for several years.   The class is a really eclectic mix of people–the age spread is about 24 to 65, and comprised of students from the US, Australia, Belgium, Greece, and the UK.  There are only 12 of us total, and we all participate in providing feedback for each other’s teaching sessions.  We also discussed job prospects a bit, and it seems like Chiang Mai is probably the most competitive place for jobs.  Some of the students seem worried because they don’t have degrees, but UniTEFL does have a really good reputation and I think we will come out of the course very well prepared to work.

“What else what else…I walked around Chiang Mai a bit yesterday (and by “a bit” I guess I actually mean “for about 5 hours”) and it is a really awesome city.  My location is pretty inconvenient to all the cool markets, restaurants and bars, but there is a lot of cheap food nearby because we are right next to Chiang Mai University.*  I had stir-fried vegetables with rice and an ice cream bar for lunch today, all for 60 baht (2 dollars).  The old center has an awesome night bazaar on every single night, and Saturday and Sunday daytime markets as well.  It’s a good thing everything is so cheap because there is sooo much awesome stuff–I’ve already bought a pair of pants and some jewelry (as if I have room in my bag!).  I also got a 1-hour massage for five dollars.  I totally understand why it’s hard for foreigners to leave this place…the quality of life is high and the lifestyle uncomplicated.  The one thing that skeeves me a bit is how many old men move here for the young Thai women.  Everywhere I go, in every bar or restaurant, I see one or several white men in their 50s or 60s surrounded by young Thai girls.  #truestereoype**”

*I was SUCH a Chiang Mai newbie!  The University area is awesome!

**Hashtags to my family?  Really?

Good thing I had my handy TITS Map from the airport!

Welcome to Chiang Mai!  Here’s your TITS Map.

My favorite temple, Wat Chedi Luang, discovered on my very first day of wandering the city.

My favorite temple, Wat Chedi Luang, discovered on my very first day of wandering the city.

 Emails from Abroad will now be a twice weekly feature!  Look for them Mondays and Thursdays.

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About Leah Davis

Hey! I'm Leah. I'm a solo traveler letting my heart lead me around the world, one country at a time. I've taught English in Thailand, climbed the Sydney Harbor Bridge, gone skydiving in Argentina, and marveled at the ruins at Machu Picchu (twice!). I love maps, strong coffee, good wine and warm climates. For even more travel talk and inspiration, you can follow my adventures on Twitter or Instagram.
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