Life is feeling more normal. I'm no longer phased when I see women holding babies on the back of a motorcycle or "lady-men" working at the pharmacy. I realize that your perceptions of things are very relative and easily changed. For example, when we first got here I was shocked to think of our neighborhood as being the "rich" part of town but now I walk around and think "yeah, this is pretty nice" and masses of yellow shirts don't seem abnormal.
One thing I might not get used to is the Thai logic. Have I mentioned earlier that logic is not a strong suit for Thai people? Of course this is a generality. I'm sure there are lots of logical Thai people out there but I'm having a hard time finding them.
Example 1: Highways are built so that if you want to merge onto another freeway you have to go 5 miles the wrong way to turn around to get to the freeway you want to get to.
Example 2: They looked at me like I was crazy that I cared that there were three different teaching schedules all contradicting each other.
Example 3: They want me to teach computers and they want me to use their books but they are all in Thai. They know I don't speak Thai but somehow that is not a problem?
Example 4: This is the doozy. The Ministry of Education has been giving me a hard time about my diploma. At first they thought it was a forgery so they wanted me to give them a piece of paper from the University saying that I really graduated. I tried to explain to them that the piece of paper from the University stating that I graduated was the diploma so why would I get a piece of paper to say that my piece of paper was legit. If I could forge a diploma with a seal and watermark how hard would it be for me to forge a piece of paper printed out from the computer?
Then all of a sudden they didn't care about the validity of my diploma. Instead they were saying that the University didn't exist. Apparently, their list said that the school was called "THE University of California" and my diploma read "University of California." They claimed because the word "the" wasn't on there that the University didn't exist. Sigh. So far 2 weeks I've had the crazy nun on my back claiming that I had to do something to prove that I really graduated and that my University really exists.
Today, we went with the document lady to the Ministry of Education to try to straighten things out. All of a sudden they didn't care about the "the" but they were concerned with my middle name. Now, they claimed that the diploma really wasn't mine because the diploma only had the middle initial and my passport had my full last name. They didn't understand the concept of a middle name and what an initial was so we had to go to the American embassy so I could sign an affidavit stating that the names were the same and pay $30 to have it notarized. Can you feel me rolling my eyes? I was so frustrated and pissed off at the sheer stupidity and arbitrariness of their requests. $30 might not seem like a lot in American dollars but it is a heck of a lot of money in Thailand especially when it was spent for no real purpose except to satisfy someone's momentary whim.
I have been trying so hard to not spend money because I don't want to fall back into the trap of spending money that I don't have or spending my money before I earn it. I've been broke since paying off my credit cards and won't get paid until the end of the month. I've been scrimping and saving wherever possible so it just felt so devastating to have to spend money on something so ridiculous. People just don't understand why its such a big deal. They say "don't worry, I'll lend you the money" without realizing that I don't want to owe anyone anything. I don't want to get my first paycheck and have it already spent. When I get paid I want it to be rightfully mine, without anyone else having claims on it whether it be a friend who lent me money or a credit card company. So I guess it'll be more scrimping and saving until the end of the month.