My involuntary diet

As I have already mentioned in my last post: I am a terrible patient. I hate going to the doctors and remembering last year’s injury on my ankle – I usually do it too late. Needless to say, I didn’t even call in sick at work this week, but kept pushing myself to the limit. But even I decided that 10days of symptoms, severe vertigo and the loss of roundabout 4kg body mass was enough. I was more angry than concerned, however: My time here is too short and my wanna-do-list too long for any bug to keep me company any longer. That’s why I went to the doctor today.

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Smashing my stubborn head against some unexpected obstacles

Truth be told:

I am an impatient person. I confess it.

Not, when it comes to teaching. And not when my adorable nieces beg me to play a 50th round of hide-and-seek. And no, not even when our ancient Lao kettle takes forever to boil water for my morning tea.

But I am terribly impatient when it comes to realizing plans or acquiring new skills. So I arrived here two weeks ago, learnt about my official duties and settled in quite smoothly. It only took me about a day to plan a handful of lessons and tell everyone that I was ready to start. But neither did I anticipate the thick wall of administration I was about to hit; nor the Lao “work ethic” which is quite different to what I’m used to.

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Biking, Baby!

You guys know me well: It didn’t take longer than a few days until the first little trip outside of the city. Last Saturday, Khanthong invited Bella and me to join his team on a bike ride. And because he knew that I’m a bit of a herb witch, our destination was Champa Garden – a sort of botanical garden for Dok Champa, the national plant of Lao (Plumeria in English, Frangipani in German).

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Rolling up my Sleeves

So today is day 5 (I am late publishing since our wifi is anything but reliable…) and we have already experienced so much that I am struggeling to recall everything.

On Sunday, Ingrid showed us around Vientiane. We strolled through the city centre (DRIPPING with sweat…) and along Mekong river, gave Thailand a little salute from there, ate delicious street food and also bought a few clothes for me on the night markets. As you can tell, my backpack has still not arrived. We keep calling the airport but all attempts to track it have failed. Big bummer. I am trying to stay optimistic, but I am getting a little more nervous with every passing day… It’s not really about my clothes (those, I could replace and would most likely get a compensation from the airline), but I packed important meds and teaching material I won’t be able to buy here. Oh and my diary was in there, too :/ I guess it’s s a lesson learnt for life. Next time, I will simply smuggle a 50kg piece of hand luggage on board, yes.

The staff from DVV (Deutscher Volkshochschulverband) gave us a really, really warm welcome on our first day. Both our bosses accompanied us to the two work locations and made sure we would get introduced to everyone. Goals and working times were agreed on and many nops practised. Continue reading

This is where we live!

Arrival.

So me and more sore butt did of course arrive eventually. My backpack, however, did not. Even now, three days after arrival, I wash my underwear and my two shirts every night. I was surprisingly chilled out about the incident (people help me out as well) until I remembered one thing. All my sports gear is in my main luggage – so no evening runs for now. NOOOOOOOOO! We are calling the airport every day, but don’t you think they would bring the backpack to me. I gotta pick it up myself. If it turns up, that is. So far, they have failed to track it… Keep your fingers crossed for me!

Khanthong, who’s one of my bosses here, picked me up and sorted out the visa with me. Easy-as. He then invited me for a coffee and I quickly started to like this guy. I am about two heads taller than he is, yet he has this air of authority. He speaks German, English, French, Lao and a bit of Thai which makes the communication easy enough. His boyish laugh couldn’t be more contagious and he already invited us to company bike trips. Most likely, I will do 50-200km tours at the weekends… Well, I guess I was planning on getting more into biking anyways. There are buses running in Vientiane, but there’s no timetable so you cannot rely on them at all and Tuktuks are too expensive for everyday use. Mopeds are an option but I’d rather buy myself some nice pushbike and resell it on departure.

Khanthong couldn’t have given a warmer welcome and I was already all smiles and anticipation when he dropped me off at the GLAD guest house (German-Lao Association for Development). Here, I met Ingrid.

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Getting there

Writing the first entry of a new blog always feels special. Especially because this time, I am intending to try a couple of new things.

  • I’d like to keep this blog for future adventures. 5years back, I started my first travel blog about Australia and I also blogged during my Erasmus semester in Norway, but so many highlights of other trips were never written down. I’d like to change that. So hopefully you’ll be able to read even more stories after Laos. Stay tuned!
  • I will try to write in English more often. Often, not always, since there are just too many German words I appreciate. Like Fernweh. Or Ohrwurm. Or Megakrassbeeindruckendersternenhimmel (for real). Plus, despite my love for the English language, I’ll never be a native speaker.

Right now, I am sitting on the plane to Thailand. 7h to go and my butt is really sore and of course I have “scored” a middle seat. A middle seat in the middle row of a middle-sized Boeing to be even more precise. Bugger that. Chances are high that my cramped neck will soon beat the pain level of my sore ass. I doubt that I’ll be able to sleep much.

But hey, that is enough complaining for now. Let’s turn to all the upsides:

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