Wow! Can you believe it, just two days will mark one month of living in Bangkok! Things have been going well. I have began somewhat of a routine, waking up every morning at 6 am to get ready and leave by 6:30 to make it to school by 8 am. I take a bus the main road right outside my community to the skytrain, which is called BTS here. Then I walk just a little bit to my Thai language school, which lasts four hours from 8 am to 12 pm. After school, on Mondays and Fridays, I go back to my community or run random errands; on Wednesdays-Thursdays, I have meetings that last until the evening. Some days I don’t get back until super late which has been a little hard and tiring. On Saturdays I teach English in my community with my leaders, Todd and Karen, my roommate Natalie, another intern named Jaime, and a Thai national named Pee Noi. Sometimes I will admit that these classes are the highlight of my week! And Sundays I have Sabbath, which lately has consisted of me going to church in the mornings, then going to life-group (discipleship group) until late afternoon and then going somewhere to use the internet! So basically, this has been my somewhat of a routine this past couple of weeks, minus orientation (which I will touch base in my blog).
Thai language school has been good but super hard. I will admit, Thai is a difficult language! It is tonal, therefore they have five different tons: high tone, low tone, middle tone, falling tone, and raising tone. The most frustrating thing is some of the most important words in Thai are spelled exactly the same but have a different meaning depending on the tone! I cannot tell you how many times I have called somebodies mom a dog because of the tone! Or I have even tried calling someone beautiful but used the wrong tone and called them bad luck instead! So I would very much appreciate prayers when it comes to learning the language here.
One random thought I would like to share is that Bangkok has wonderful public transportation, its not always the most convenient but helps so much! They have a skytrain (BTS) and a subway (called MRT), both are mostly in the downtown area. Then they offer a multitude of bus’s, some are air-conditioned and some aren’t. And on top of that, there are tons of taxi’s, motorcycle taxi’s, and things called tuktuk’s (most foreigners use these…they are like small little three-wheeled open car but they are the most expensive type of transportation here). The traffic is just horrendous here so its pretty awesome seeing all of the public transportation offered to help make travel as easy as possible. Oh I almost forgot the best one, they have canal and river boat taxi’s! These are pretty crazy and I have to take them to the other side of Bangkok every Tuesday and Thursday for my internship meetings. I got to say, I hate getting on and off of these things because it has been known that some people have fallen into the river or canal before (and man, those waterways are filthy dirty!!). Some of the first advice I was given in Bangkok was keep your mouth shut when taking the boat taxi’s because you sure do not want to swallow that nasty water!
I will touch base on this more in my blog, but my community has been incredible yet difficult. They have been so welcoming to Natalie and I and truly helped us in so many ways. Even though they don’t have much, they are always willing to share and sacrifice their food and time for us. Once I almost got attacked by a dog, but all of a sudden some community members started telling for me to stop walking and then a community leader came and held the dog away from me as I walked by. It was so comforting to know that I am protected and loved here in the community. I have made many young friends! The kids in my community have truly taken to playing, laughing, making fun, walking, leading, and teaching us all about living in Thailand. They are little munchkins that I have truly grown to love! I truly see this as a gift from the Lord because He knows how much I long to see and love on my own (9!!) nephews and nieces, whom I miss dearly.
God has been teaching me so much here. Everyday, I feel like I am challenged. Sometimes I also experience an overwhelming sense of loneliness. But in the midst of hardship, joys, and loneliness I know our Heavenly Father is always which me, guiding and leading me in the right direction.
(1) Please pray for protection from the many spiritual attacks I have been feeling. Bangkok is a heavy place with so much spiritual darkness from false idols, worshiping those false idols, and so much animism.
(2) Please pray for my roommate and I to continue loving and serving one another as Christ loves and serves us. We have both never lived with another person 24 hours a day, 7 days a week! We literally have the same schedule and pretty much everything is the same and sometimes we struggle just finding alone time.
(3) Please pray for the youth in my community. So many of them are struggling with gender issues. Participating in homosexuality is huge here, especially with boys who are called “ladyboys” because they turn themselves into women by surgeries, medication—especially hormone pills, and many have to become prostitutes to be able to afford the complete transformation.
(4) Please pray for the Lord to continue to move and use Natalie and I in countless of ways. We want to be vessels for our Lord.
(5) Pray for our own boldness, especially because the language barrier is difficult.
(6) And pray for our language learning!
**The picture takes place at the Grand Palace. We went on a day of exploring some of the most famous temples in Bangkok; left to right in the picture: Catherine, Ryan, Janista, Kristen, Alejandro, and I.