The Working Week!

Last Saturday morning, on 13 January, my local community celebrated Children’s Day with a Kids Camp. The kids danced away to Michael Jackson’s Thriller, the cute-ness was beyond words! I could hear the Lion King theme songs playing, which made my inner 5 year-old self very happy! There was an array of stalls and games, and anyone could join. It was a great atmosphere.

It’s now Saturday 20 January, at approximately 8:16am. I’ve had my morning coffee, completed 2 loads of washing and cleaned a little. I was so happy to have slept past 6am this morning, pure bliss! This past week at work has been equal parts exciting and tiring. I had a timeframe of the end of January/the start of February to do an array of tasks. I managed to complete them by 19 January. I am getting my hair done today and plan to do some sight-seeing, I will definitely enjoy this weekend!

During the working week I generally wake up at 5:45am or 6am to be in the office by 7:20am, which coincidentally misses the hectic morning traffic. My apartment complex provides a free bus service to the Sky Train, which leaves every 30 minutes. We either take the 7am or 7:30am bus (depending on whether a sleep-in is necessary). The total commute time from stepping out my door to stepping into the office takes 20 minutes. Each day I aim for the 7am bus. Catching public transport after 7:30am means the train is completely packed and you may only catch the 2nd or 3rd train! Thankfully, trains come every few minutes in peak hour. The public transport system is able to cater for the volume of people it serves.

My office views are quite beautiful. We are on the 21st floor, which gives us a view of the bright blue sky, with a horizon of buildings to coat the landscape. In the first week, we learnt all of the internal systems – that part is usually the trickiest in any new job. Each Youth Advocate is a Global Partnership Associate for select countries, where our global research team looks at the trends occurring in universities around the world for leadership and social change. Our task is to find emerging young leaders and bring them together on a global networking platform at a United Nations Conference, the 9th University Scholars Leadership Symposium (USLS), held at the UN Asia Headquarters. If you think that you fit the bill for the Symposium, please reach out to me.

Three pretty amazing things have happened in the past two weeks. I was given the first writing task: to write a summary of the intensive 3-day training at the UN Asia Headquarters. Absolutely pinching myself that various agencies of the United Nations will be reading my report! The Regional Director of Asia has asked me to write a Marketing Proposal on ‘Utilising Social Media’. I’ve been involved in various committees for the past 8 years, all the skills I have gained are finally being put to good use! Now the best for the last. It’s no secret that I’d love to be involved in politics one day. I have been asked to liaise with the Embassies in Thailand about the 9th USLS! I will actually be personally speaking with Ambassadors from around the world! I kept it cool when the Regional Director of Asia told me, then sat at my desk and internally fan-girled for a solid 5 minutes. The very Australian hashtag, #thisislivingbarry, accurately sums up the past 3 weeks. That being said, it is definitely not easy and we all work very hard. Liaising with different people and governments from around the world has its challenges, but my goodness, it is fun!

Since living in Bangkok for the past 3 weeks, I’ve been to China town, Chatuchak and have been testing out the food. China town was absolutely amazing! I had not experienced that sheer amount of people in one place before! Two of the Youth Advocates are from China, they said it reminded them of a 1960’s Shanghai. There was a mixture of smells, the lights were dazzling and traffic was blocked. It was a great experience. Chatuchak is home to the worlds’ biggest markets, it has more than 8,000 stalls. I purchased 2 pairs of work pants, a bag pack, laptop bag, a dress, a small handbag and one pair of swimmers for roughly 1,300 THB. I have also gotten a Thai sim card. I receive unlimited data and 200 minutes of calls for a whopping $25AUD a month, *cough cough, Telstra*. I didn’t make any calls this month, so unlimited data has cost me $7.11 in total.

We’ve been having lunch at Gateway in Ekkaima, it’s a quick 5-minute walk from the office. Last week I went to a stall to purchase some food. I showed the lady the meal that i wanted, she looked me up and down, laughed and said ‘spicy, spicy!’. I replied back in shaky Thai ‘yes, I like spicy food.’ She chuckled and gave me the food. As I began eating I could feel this insane heat in my mouth, but persevered through as I was going to eat my money’s worth! My lips/mouth were numb for a solid hour after eating the food. I now know what ‘spicy, spicy’ means!

A friend asked me to include a description of the fashion in Thailand. I’m not the best with understanding fashion, but I’ll give it a go. From what I have seen in the markets and in a few shops, people wear statement pieces which dazzle for a fancier outfit. I can also see hints of the Chinese culture in the clothing, straight cuts and definition. It seems the majority of people choose darker clothes. Millennials choose an array of clothing, I have seen a few fashion savvy outfits that portray a mix of colour with one defining element, such as a belt, handbag or plants with flare.

Overall, my apartment is beginning to feel a bit like home. Though I still need a drying rack, I’ve developed a good system for drying my clothes on various pieces of furniture, but it’s starting to look like a laundromat. I am greatly missing my boyfriend, family and friends. Thankfully, my boyfriend and family are coming to visit in March, so only 7 weeks away!

Until next time,

Andreena.

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