On Moving to....Thailand!

Our first global citizen interview is with Caroline! Caroline is from Kenya, and not too long ago, she moved to the United States for her studies and now she recently made the big move to Thailand! She's going to be sharing a couple of things about her move to Thailand! 

Caroline - I’m courageous Caroline. I lived in the U.S. Kennesaw, Georgia to be precise. I was pursuing my graduate degree, working as a research assistant and also taught a freshman class on the side.

Why Move ? -  I moved because I grew restless in Kennesaw. I grew tired of the same old routines. I wanted a change in environment and I also wanted to see Asia. I initially wanted to go to Korea but that didn’t work out. I knew very little about Thailand, so I spent hours upon hours on the Internet looking up every little detail before I made the move.

With the help of a friend, and through interviews, Caroline got a job teaching at a school in Thailand. She has been living in Thailand since September 2015 

What was the first thing you noticed ? -  The first thing I noticed were all the palm trees!! 

When was the moment you realized you weren’t in the US anymore ?   - When I walked into a bathroom and there was no tissue paper, no hand basin and no soap… (oh! Sorry Caroline !! )

How did you take care of Housing ? - The school I work for helped me with housing and helped me get settled.

How about transportation, Do you drive? - Drive on these roads? No way!!I want to live a long and prosperous life. Public transportation is cheap and efficient. There are motorcycle taxis, tuktuks, little vehicles called Songtaews, and trains. However, it has been difficult for me to take the train to other provinces on my own because most of the station names are written in Thai and I can neither read nor write Thai.

How hard is it to communicate? - It depends on who I’m communicating with. It’s easy to speak with people who can speak English and difficult to speak to people who only speak Thai.

Have you found any Kenyan food store? LOL….I haven’t even found a Kenyan!

Have you made friends? - Much to my surprise, yes! I have some lovely Filipina friends here and a few Thai friends. 

What were you worried about but shouldn’t have ? - I was worried about not being able to make any friends, about my students not being able to understand a word I said and also worried that I would face a lot of discrimination. I shouldn’t have.

Being African in Thailand – How is that? - It is not unlike being African in the US. People here are curious and you do get one or two, “Are all people poor in Africa questions.”
What surprised you, and made you uneasy ?  - The staring. People stare and stare and stare some more. Also, the stray dogs! There are like a 10 stray dogs per square mile!!

What do you like about the people ? They are so warm and friendly. Very helpful and curious about me and what I’m all about.

What would you take back to Kenya or America from Thailand ? - The food!The pad kapao ped is to die for. The prices too!I bought a fridge for $84....that just about sums it up!

Mannerisms that surprise you and that you have adopted?  - I “wai” in greeting now. I would extend my hand to say hello and get confused looks. I also attempted a hug here and there and that was disastrous.

Can you run us through your typical day? I wake up at 6:45 am, take a shower, pack my breakfast, lunch and laptop and walk to school at around 7:40am. I teach 3-6 classes a day. Tuesdays are really hectic because I teach 6 classes and Fridays are pretty relaxed since I only have one class. I work with my kids through various projects, my favorite one is currently a Harry Potter literature circle class (I'm jealous!!). I have lunch at around noon and leave school at around 3:30 to 4:00pm.

What do you like/dislike about moving? - I have always loved moving to new places. My favorite thing is just being in a new place, seeing everything for the first time. My least favorite is all the money you have to spend to be able to settle down comfortably.

What would you ask your friends to ship to you if they could? -  Lots of black hair care products, braiding hair, acne wash and moisturizer (everything here has whitening agents), Amarachi my hairstylist, those little handbag hand sanitizers, and a case for my sunglasses. Cases here cost an arm and a leg!It’s like they are luxury items.

On relationships –  how does that work? - Not in a relationship but if I were in one, I’d make him move here hehehehe.

If we want to come to Thailand, where should we visit ? 

I haven’t traveled much yet so I’ll give you my already done list and my yet to do!

1. Shopping in Bangkok (Siam Square, MBK, Platinum, Paladium and all the other massive shopping malls around BKK. Prices you just can’t beat!)

2. Nightlife at Khaosan Road, Bangkok- International Party!!!

3. Eat food from all the street vendors that color the streets of Thailand. I promise you won’t get sick.

4. Wat Sorthon and Wat Saman in Chacheongsao. If you thought you had seen beautiful churches wait till you see these temples!

5. I haven’t gone to these places yet but they are on my to do list: visit Phuket (because LOST the show), Snorkel in Ko Samui island and ride an elephant in Chiang Mai.

Do you have any advice to people that want to move to Thailand ?  - Ummm…. The toilets will take a lot of getting used to. Everything else comes with time. Learn some basic survival Thai!

Anything else you’d like to share with us or let us know?
Yeah, Thailand’s national religion is Buddhism so it’s business as usual during the Christmas season. I still can’t wrap my head around that! People are complaining about red Starbucks cups…sigh…I’ll be teaching on Christmas day!!!

Thank you so much for sharing your move with us Caroline!!

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