The bus ride to Song was about 9 hours. Once I got here, I immediately knew I was in for a whole new life. The main town area is a few shops spanning 1-2 blocks. There are a handful of restaurants, and a 7-11. The rest of the town is houses and, further out, rice paddies with work posts spread throughout.
Everyone I met was so welcoming and friendly. And, of course, very curious; I am one of 2 foreigners who lives in the town. I was told that everyone knew I was coming and was excited to see me.
I had been worried about the racial prejudice coming out into a smaller town, after hearing some bad stories. I was worried that the school would see that I was dark-skinned and decide to send me back. But instead, the director of the school took me around town parading me to the townspeople, saying to them in Thai, “This is our new teacher. Isn’t she beautiful?” I was so grateful to get such a warm welcome.
Some of the teachers took me around introducing me to various townspeople. Everyone seemed to have a title, or function in the town– they would say to me, “This is our noodle lady.” or “This is our pharmacist.”
I was set up in a house with the other English teacher at the school (the other foreigner in the town), in a very nice house right next to the school. I think I will be well taken care of here.
I’m also looking forward to having plenty of creative time. I’ve brought my ukelele, my poetry notebook, paints, and plenty of good books. I think a lot of personal progress will be made in the next two months, and I’ll have time to be peaceful and enjoy the simple life.