Most of the time when I start writing, I like having a clear event, or at least a topic, in mind. Lately, so many things have been going on that it’s been hard to sit down and write, let alone stay focused on a theme. So this is just a smattering of what’s been going on in the last week (minus pictures! I haven’t had any time to even take pictures! sad face).
We had two job interview last week, one at Dara Academy and the other at Prince Royal’s College. Both are private high schools in Chiang Mai serving (privileged) Thai students, and they’re across the street from one another on the other side of town. At Dara, we’re pretty sure we were at the top of our interview group, since we were among the few picked to actually meet the school director. My solo interview with her was at first pretty standard, mostly questions about my background and why I moved to Chiang Mai. Then it took a bit of a turn that went like this:
Principal: Do you smoke?
Principal: Do you drink?
Principal: Party whore?
Now, imagine for a minute, the slightly stunned look on my face. Followed by this tiny Thai woman with a graying fro, who until now has been completely stern and serious, breaking into a huge grin and laughing. At which point I also laugh and assure her that no, I am not a party whore, and most nights I’m in bed around 9 or 10 reading.
The interview at Prince Royal’s lasted about 15 minutes, and resulted in job offers for both of us the next morning. We’re waiting to hear back from Dara before we sign contracts (Dara takes all of their foreign teachers on vacation to the islands every year! I WANT A SCHOOL SPONSORED FIELD TRIP TO THE BEACH!), but it’s nice to know that we will have jobs somewhere come May.
We’ve been working to get My Oh Mai Collective off the ground, and at long last launched our Etsy store (which you can visit here)! We went out to dinner and drinks with Oh and her boyfriend last night, who make the products in our shop, and they are pretty much awesome. They’ve invited us to their wedding next year, and to join their scooter gang on trips! No joke, they are in a friendly scooter gang called Stay Alone Thailand, and their mascot is a cat wearing a helmet. And they go on trips with other scooter gangs. It is almost the coolest/funniest thing I’ve ever seen.
Today we decided to rent a scooter and get out of town a bit, because we haven’t really left since we got here over a month ago and we’re feeling a bit claustrophobic. This afternoon we went east to Sankampaeng, which was billed as a handicraft center near Chiang Mai. The area is famous for its hand painted umbrellas, and is home to a bunch of handicraft centers and shops with wood carvings, painted fans, silk products and the typical Thai souvenirs. Unfortunately, while we were expecting a quaint village with people who are experts in their crafts, what we found was an area that clearly caters to bus loads of tourists, with shops full of the same. exact. stuff. Clearly mass made, hand painted by who knows who. The shops had boxes of fans and umbrellas jammed in them, and were selling them for so cheap that there is no way anyone put any time into them or was paid anything near a fair price. We hit the walking street for a bit, only to find the same knock off stuff we’d found in town. It was pretty disappointing. We’re going to have to do some more research into where to find the authentic stuff, but it certainly wasn’t where we were. Tomorrow we’re heading out to a lake outside town, where we’ve been promised hammocks by the water and some peace and quiet.
For now, I’m going to finish my Blue Hawaii D-Milk smoothie, which we’ve cleverly spiked with rum, and do some people watching. It never gets old.