I spent the first few days in my new apartment in Thailand getting oriented. After the initial fear that my school coordinator instilled in me wore off and I settled into my new job, I realized I had more free time than I knew what to do with. I taught 20 hours per week, and I only had to plan for two different lessons. My apartment was inside the school so there wasn’t even a commute time to factor in my day.
My alarm would go off at 7am; I’d throw some clothes on and be in the teacher’s office by 8am. Throw in a few classes and a lunch break and I was done. By 2:30pm my teacher duties were over for the day. So with about seven hours to kill before bedtime, how did I occupy my time?
- Cooking terrible food using my hot water pot. I’d buy packs of ramen at 7-11 and toss various spices or vegetables in it. My best dish was probably ketchup noodles.
|I know I can make something with this|
- Reading. I discovered my love for Maya Angelou, Truman Capote, and free romance novels from Amazon. I read some great pieces of literature along with some downright filthy books.
- Exercising. I hate running, and after one failed attempt to run outside in the sweltering heat I decided to move my workouts indoors. With no gym available I had to be creative. I’d do lunges across my room with jugs of water in each hand mixed in with jumping jacks.
- Redecorating. While I couldn’t paint the walls or buy new beds, I could add touches off home. I covered the walls with pictures, bought hot pink towels and strung Christmas lights.
|Doesn't it look cozy?|
- Trip planning. Every weekend was a mini adventure. I used the week to plan where I wanted to go so I always had something to be look forward to.
- Gchat. I hate to admit it, but I’m not going to pretend like I was constantly being productive. I’d spend hours on Gchat swapping stories about my students, and it was nice to have some human interaction.
- TV. The only English shows I got were Law and Order, House, Royal Pains, and Criminal Minds. The television also worked well as a nightlight and for covering up the sounds of animals in heat outside my door.
- Eat. Most nights I’d venture to the market before it got dark to grab a smoothie before popping into an outdoor restaurant for a plate of fried rice. Then I’d inevitably hit up 7-11 for dessert.
|what I had to look forward to at bedtime|
While I'm not sure I made the most of those 100 square feet and I had some terribly lonely nights there; I grew tough, strong and developed some serious coping mechanisms that I know will help me get through anything, or at least to the weekend and somewhere better.