It was the Best of Times, It was the Worst of Times

Authored by:
Kaylee S.

Kaylee S.

Think about it: 24 long hours of traveling later, you finally land in your new home country. After the airport people have read over the piles of paperwork you had to bring to at least six different checkpoints, it only feels right to pop some bottles and start celebrating this new adventure, right? Wrong! Put your ID card away, because for now, the only drink you're being served is a big, fat, Quarantini. 

I actually consider myself to be one of the lucky ones. All of the trips to Thailand leading up to mine required a two week long quarantine, however, with the vaccine rollout increasing, and cases decreasing, I was only stuck in isolation for one. Seven whole days of room service, unlimited wifi, and the AC controls at my leisure!? Sounds like more of a vacation than a quarantine! Of course, it definitely had its rough moments, but, like anything that comes with this big journey, you have to be willing to make the best of it. I want to share with you a list of all of the things that helped me survive my quarantine. Consider this my acceptance speech for winning the "What to Do in the Q" Award, and now it's time to give thanks to those who got me here. 

First off, I'd like to thank my manager. Or, better known as the Teach in Thailand lifeline, OEG. This company is filled with so many wonderful people who have helped me with this entire process, and have always been there to answer any questions along the way. When they first announced that our orientation was going to be online, I was definitely bummed about the thought of not getting to meet any of my fellow teachers in person and having to sit on my computer all day. However, they made us an organized schedule for each day of quarantine, which separated our sessions with breaks for lunch and time to ourselves. This was great for forcing me up and out of bed at a reasonable hour every morning, and for filling several time slots during the day. Not to mention, OEG had a way of making even the most basic information exciting, and they kept us very entertained throughout every zoom!

Second, I need to thank my crew. We were all placed at the BelAire Bangkok hotel, and let me tell you, the staff was nothing short of amazing! They made sure to add us all on LINE (Thai texting app) upon arrival, and were able to communicate with us easily each day. This was how we sent them our temperature checks and asked for anything we needed, and how they told us when to come down for COVID tests and any other information that we had to know! They also gave us a SEVENTEEN PAGE menu, full of tons of worldly food choices for our meals each day. We would submit a form with our preferences the night before, and then a doorbell would ring the following day, at the time we requested, to let us know our food had arrived! We truly would have starved without them. 

Next, I want to thank my cast. I can't believe how lucky Thailand schools are to have all the incredible people I have met on this program as their teachers! A bunch of us made groupchats on LINE and Snapchat, which we constantly sent updates and food recommendations in. It was so nice to have people to talk to that were 1) on the same time schedule as me and 2) were going through the same thing. This helped us start to become close before we even met in person! 

Then, I have to thank my publicist. My journal! Wherever you go, bring something with you where you can write down all your thoughts and feelings. Every night, before bed, I would write a little something about my day, whether it was an orientation session, a meal I ate, or my emotions about suddenly living across the world. Even on days where you do nothing (cough cough quarantine), it's still going to be so nice to have pages full of chicken scratch to read over and bring back the memories.

After, I'm gonna thank my spouse. My date every night that I couldn't wait to lay down in bed with. You probably know them as Netflix. Fun fact! Every country has their own version of Netflix, so your computer will automatically switch over to the zone you are in. Thai Netflix has tons of great TV shows and movies that used to be or were never on the US Netflix (Friends and Mamma Mia!, what could be better?), so there was an endless amount of options for things to watch during my down time. And trust me, there was a lot of that.

Of course, I have to give thanks to my family and friends. During those few hours where our daytime overlapped, either my parents or pals were always willing to FaceTime and keep me entertained. I am grateful that there are so many easy ways to communicate with loved ones back home!

Last but not least, thank you to all the fans. Aka anyone who is my friend on Snapchat. As soon as I got to the hotel, I made a private story where I could post about all of my quarantine adventures. Not only did this help me keep people back home updated with what I was doing, but it also kept me entertained. I would vlog about all of the different hotel meals I tried, share the random thoughts rolling around my head, and I even had a costume fashion show on Halloween with the random "props" I found in my room. It was lots of fun to wake up to the comments about how I looked like I was losing my mind!

Overall, quarantining is hard. There were a lot of moments that I felt really lonely, which is not ideal when you've just arrived in your new home, because it makes you wonder if you should just turn around and go back. However, the only way out is through. Finding little ways to keep my mind entertained and occupy the hours in my day helped me to shift into the right headspace for all of the fun that was to come. Being out on the other side now, I'm pleased with how I made the most of those seven days, and I'm glad that I was able to ensure that I was entering this beautiful country safely. To me, that definitely sounds like something to celebrate. Cheers!

 

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