Tag Archives: bathrooms

Thailand Tribute #3: Mosquito nets

A view of my room from the yoga mat

Today I pay tribute to the mosquito nets I’ve slept under for a year. It has long become second nature to tie up my net each night before going to bed, and unfasten it every morning to avoid hitting it during my sunrise salutations. More than keeping the mosquitoes away from me while I sleep and protecting my bed from the gecko droppings that fall on everything, my mosquito net has become a part of my daily routine that truly distinguishes my life here from the one I left a year ago in the States.

I am quite grateful to have lived in a house with so many amenities, like running water, electricity (and Internet, usually), screens on my bedroom windows, a shower head and a washing machine with spin dry. Most Thai houses lack window coverings, so mosquito nets in those houses are even more of a necessity than mine is to me. I don’t have to take bucket showers if I don’t want to, and even though cold water still comes out of the shower head, it is quite a luxury to have two free hands while bathing. Also, most women in the villages wash their laundry by hand, which is an incredibly manual-intensive job, in case you’ve never tried it yourself. Now I don’t think twice about having to manually rinse my own laundry and line dry everything because I know I have it much easier than most. In addition to these differences, other things like squat toilets, fans, and floor mats are a few more examples of what makes my life here so unique and sets it apart from what is waiting for me at home.

I am so excited to come home to the family and friends I have not seen for a year but I am also nervous about many aspects of the re-entry process that will be more challenging, like eating foods my body is no longer accustomed to, washing laundry in gigantic machines, and falling asleep without the safety net I have grown to love.

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What? It’s no big deal…

I am off for theĀ second time this week because it is Constitution Day in Thailand. With the extra free time I thought I’d take a moment to blog about some of the things I have become accustomed to doing on a regular basis:

  • Carrying a wad of toilet paper in my pocket every time I use public bathrooms (including bathrooms at my school)
  • Rolling up my pants every time I use a squat toilet so as to not make a mess of my outfit
  • Looking right then left when crossing streets
  • Finding small animals and insects in my dishes at lunch (which belong there) and then eating them
  • Picking tiny red ants out of my hot water before making tea or coffee (no, these do not belong there)
  • Constantly placing heavy objects on any loose papers to keep them from blowing away
  • Strategically searching for and standing in any shade possible during the day
  • Adapting to the broad temperature changes in my room throughout the day, which drops to about 60F in the morning and can spike at 95F by midday
  • Explaining to people that my family is not wealthy, and despite being from the United States, no, I do not own a plane

I’m sure I will continue to add to this list as time goes on but I just wanted to share a little insight what parts of my life look like here. Also, check out the WorldTeach NOW blog that features stories of volunteers around the world. On December 5th they reported on our Thailand Thanksgiving feast and some of my pictures made the story!

I hope everyone in the Midwest (especially in Wisconsin!) is having a blast with the blizzard. From the pictures I’ve seen it looks like some good packing snow for snowball fights and snowpeople. Miss you all!


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