My new home in Thailand and my war with the former tenants
So I will be honest. I had my first minor panic attack yesterday as I was shown my new apartment. It’s not really what I was expecting. It’s small, just one room not unlike the hotel room I spent my first month here in. Actually it’s a little smaller. In fact the place is also a hotel. My biggest problem wasn’t the size though; it was the bugs. It was immediately clear that this room hadn’t been inhabited for a decently long time and the bugs had become squatters in the vacated room. Fortunately I didn’t spend too long there after dropping my stuff. We then went off to my school to meet some of my future co-workers.
My new home!
Things improved from there. My school is absolutely awesome. There is plenty of space to play sports and they even have a volleyball net, one of the first I’ve seen since arriving in Thailand. My fellow teachers are very pleasant and a few of them speak English very well. I have little doubt that I will love being a teacher there.
Then I went back to the room and was left on my own. That was the low point of the day, and I wanted to break down right there. But there was work to be done. I needed to claim my place as my own, and so began my war with the bugs. I started with the back patio, an enclosed space that I will need to do laundry and, should I stay here, set up a mini-kitchen for cooking. This was the bug’s front line. A battalion of ants had begun a line to my doorstep and were beginning to breach my feeble weather-strip defenses. Armed only with a broom and a can of powerful bug spray, I open fired. The spray was so powerful it scattered the ants across the battlefield toward the back wall. I may have shed a tear as I witnessed the genocide I was committing. To be fair I did ask them nicely to retreat before engaging. When there were none left I swept them toward the drain and left them as a feast for the lizards. Moving on to the bathroom I made quick work of the dwindling ants and beetles left in there. I noticed the mold and vowed to return soon to tackle that particular issue. Then I went to the front door. Again I noticed my weather strip would need replacing if I was to stay well-defended. I drew a line with the bug spray marking where my domain began. Having forced the bugs into retreat for now, I walked out into enemy territory to explore the town.
Seeing the town helped me to calm down a lot. It’s not very big, and it’s a little hard to get around until I manage to get a motorbike. But it has a very nice feeling to it and I found myself feeling welcome. Everyone stared as I walked by and any gaze I met was returned with a smile and a “Sawatee Ka/Khap” (This means hello). I walked a mile or so until I was in the main part of town and looked around for some food, having worked up an appetite while in battle. I stumbled upon a small festival along the river that seemed largely Chinese influenced. I walked around taking in the scenes and sounds and scents. I watched a soccer game that had referees and everything (another first from my time in Thailand) and promised myself I would befriend the players at some point. In general, the walk around town put me at ease and made me excited for the upcoming semester.
After a time, I returned uneasily to my apartment. Had the bugs recuperated already? Was there another battle to be had so soon? At my front door I noticed scouts feeling the way. I quickly decapitated them and mounted their heads on toothpicks to serve as a warning to their companions. I checked the bathroom and was pleased to find the tide still stemmed for the time being. A quick look at the back patio yielded similar results, though I know that is where they will launch their next attack from. Then, when moving things around in my room, I saw a spider – a huge spider – crawl from underneath my dresser. Oh shit, I said to myself, they’ve discovered my weakness. Naturally I cried like a small child and tried to usher him out the door from as far a distance as humanly possible. He laughed in my face and calmly crawled under my TV stand, vowing to keep me up all night. I attempted sleep while mentally planning my strategy for tomorrow.
There’s one more tenant that didn’t really feature in my story; my roommates, the three of four tiny lizards crawling around like they live here, which they more or less do. I am so far fine with them. I like to believe they eat the bugs. They keep to themselves and aren’t altogether bad roommates. Once I have them trained to use the toilet then I’m fine if they stay. I’ll have to start asking their names soon. Altogether I think it’s going to be alright. I love the town, and once I can claim my place entirely I think the living situation will be okay too.