Saturday, October 29, 2011


     Because of the flooding in Bangkok, my trip has now been postponed by 15 days. My flight now leaves on the 18th of November. I am glad that I will be avoiding the disaster portion of the trip, but also a teensy bit disappointed that I will have to wait. Waiting is not fun.


     I don’t want to bore you all by just regurgitating everything I read in my guidebooks. Until my trip, I will continue to update you on how I’m preparing. I’ll draw attention to things that really stand out to me. But since I did decide to throw the rules out the window, any topic is fair game. Today I’ll stick fairly close to home.

     As you know, in Thailand I will be taking care of a toddler named Nadia. This is not the first time I’ve been responsible for a little person. Prior to this particular gig, I’ve spent a lot of time taking care of my own adorable niece Gracie. Gracie is an overflowing handful who loves attention and loves telling everyone what to do.  J

Once, about six months ago, I took Gracie to McDonald’s for the evening for a bit of socializing and playplace fun. This kid is always making friends. I don’t think she understands the concept of a stranger; no matter how many times it’s explained to her. On this particular evening she, being 4 at the time, made fast friends of two older girls, sisters, also playing in the jungle gym/playplace. I think one was 6 and the other may have been 8 years old. They played happily for about thirty minutes while I observed. Clearly the older sister was accustomed to getting her way and bossing the younger sibling around.
Well, she was about to be schooled in the ways of sassy.
The following is the exchange I overheard and tried desperately not to pee myself over.

Older girl: (In a very authoritative voice) I know! I got an idea. How about we play spies, or hunters, yeah, let’s be dinosaurs. (motions between herself and her younger sister) And we’ll chase you (motions to Gracie) ‘cause you’re a hunter. You go up there, through there and then you can hide out if you want, but we’ll find you, ‘cause we’re great dinosaurs. And then we can chase you around here and through there. You run and stuff and then we’ll get you. We can make all sorts of dinosaur noises and walk like ‘em too, while you try to hunt us, okay?

*I’d like to point out that this entire time Gracie has been patient and attentive, looking the older girl square in the face just waiting for her to finish her litany of orders.

Gracie: (pause) I got an idea. How about I be the dinosaur and you be quiet.

Then Gracie runs off happily to play, not a care in the world.
I love this kid!

     I am told from the previous Au Pair that Nadia has a very calm demeanor and that she is a very well-behaved little girl. So, calm…I had to get out the dictionary for that one. I’m eager to meet Nadia, begin teaching her English and just having fun with her.

     I’m one of those people that has kind of-oh what’s the word?-an obsessive personality. When I like something, I like it. I devour everything I can about the subject: books, movies, TV shows, accounts from other people and pretty much anything else I can get my hands on. This aspect of my personality spills over into other areas of my life. Sometimes to my benefit and sometimes not. For instance, I’ve read so much about Thailand in the last month I think my eyes might cross permanently.  

     And now I’ve got 20 days to obsess. Just think of how much I’ll know tomorrow.

Thursday, October 27, 2011


               There’s a lot of water in Bangkok today.

     Thailand is experiencing record-breaking floods. It hasn’t been this bad in fifty years. What does this mean for little ol’ me? I have no idea, yet. I’m awaiting word as to whether or not my flight will be pushed back several days or even a few weeks. As it stands now, I am supposed to fly to The Land of Smiles in eight days. While it might seem inconvenient to me, it is devastating to the Thai people. Over 300 people have been killed from these flood waters; at least fifty from that number were children.

Priorities, people.
     If you are the praying type, I offer up Thailand and Asia as an addition to your roster. What I’m learning from this is patience, humility and even more patience in regards to steering clear of really bad jokes. I want my blog to be fun and accessible for everyone, but I did see the need to take a moment out from the amusement and pay respects. May I suggest you take a moment and appreciate how dry you and your belongings are?

     I come from Southeast NC where hurricanes are the norm. In fact, we even participate in hurricane parties. The power goes out, the candles get lit, and the socializing begins. I appreciate those times because they shine a spotlight on how little we truly communicate with one another. Technology is my friend, don’t get me wrong, I love my computer, my Kindle and my iPod. However, just sitting and talking with friends and family is becoming a ‘past’ time. I vote we don’t let it.   
     This also brings to mind the meaning of flexibility. Especially in travel, I believe the less rigid you are the less stress you’ll incur. Steinbeck said, “A journey is like marriage. The certain way to be wrong is to think you control it.”
     There is no danger in being flexible and the Thai people even have a concept that epitomizes what I’m trying to convey. The Thai use this phrase as a way of approaching everyday situations; “jai yen yen” literally means cool your heart. The best comparison I can make is to a Disney movie, The Lion King. It is very much like Timon and Pumba’s description of Hakuna Matata. No worries. It’s no big deal. Thais often operate with this in mind, eschewing the stress that accompanies being late for work due to a traffic jam. Of course, this is only information that I have gleaned from my Lonely Planet guidebook and other sources. I promise to give a first hand account as soon as I’m able. 
     For now, I leave you with one more quote (I just love quotes-there will be more) that should, hopefully, put a smile on your face. The Duke gave us this one.

     “Life is tough. It’s tougher when you’re stupid.” ~John Wayne

Picture from

Friday, October 21, 2011

Preparation is Key

     Knowing that I’ll be in a different hemisphere inside of two weeks, I feel rushed to prepare. This is my first time in a country where the language is not based on the Roman Alphabet and I am not familiar with the everyday customs. So I have been reading. And reading. And reading.
     To date, my favorite guidebook on Thailand is the one published by Lonely Planet but I can’t really make an accurate assessment until I’m over there. I’ll let you know how correct it turns out to be. The kinds of things I’m reading up on are pretty much the basics. I'm laying some foundation so that, hopefully, I don't come off as a complete American tool. Thai currency is the Baht. The exchange rate, the last time I checked, was 0.03211 to 1; the USD goes pretty far in Bangkok.

     Everyday etiquette is something I’m particularly concerned with. In Thailand, certain parts of the body are regarded with varying levels of respect. The head is considered the most sacred part of the body and therefore you should never touch anyone on their head. The feet, however, are regarded as the lowest and most filthy part. You should never point your feet at someone, and if you are in a temple or near a Buddha statue, never point your feet at the Buddha. VERY rude.
    Thailand is known as The Land of Smiles, which I find to be an odd dichotomy because while keeping a calm, polite demeanor is important to me, I’d also like to know if the person I’m currently dealing with is genuinely pleased with me or just being condescending. Growing up in the South, I place a great deal of value on hospitality and manners. Yes, manners Do matter. The truth also matters. So, I’ll let you know how that one works out as well.

     These are all considerations for after I land. I suppose you might be interested in how I got the job in the first place. After leaving college during my second year to work for a cruise line in Alaska, I developed an affinity for work + travel. The summation of this particular equation is me happy. Well, happier than if I keep my butt in one seat for too long. I develop a sort of numb bum, a rear-end rot if you will. One thing led to another and I found myself a member of, a website that connects families and au pairs/nannies.  I remained an active member of this site for several years, meeting several families but making no real connections. That is, until about six months ago when I met a very lovely family in Bangkok, Thailand. After the perfunctory emailing back and forth, background checking, and all that other boring but completely necessary stuff we did to make sure the other party was not, in fact, some psychopathic, mass murdering cyber-stalker, the family invited me to become their au pair and I graciously accepted.

     For those of you who are unfamiliar with the term au pair, it is derived from 19th century French term and it literally means ‘on equal terms’. Usually a foreigner, an au pair will look after and teach the young children in the family. In my case, I will be responsible for a beautiful little Thai girl named Nadia, playing with her and teaching her English over the course of a year.
     I think I should mention that I’m a bit of a compulsive picture taker, so look forward to many different pictures of Thailand from many different angles. I will take requests if anyone so wishes.
     Feel free to participate with me and if you’ve got any questions or ideas, I am all ears. Well, I’m not all ears because that would just look weird. But I am available to take questions. 

Thursday, October 20, 2011

My Very Own Mission Statement

For whatever reason, you have stumbled upon the genius that is Paige. I say this with a great big grin on my face and maybe a cute little twinkle in my eye. Please don't mistake me for arrogant or abrasive in nature (though, I do possess this odd tendency to always be right). If you follow your horoscope, then you will know what I mean when I say that I am a full-blown Aries. I’m hoping to keep you coming back with my indelible charm and sharp wit, so that I have a willing audience (But I have a room set up in the basement, just in case). If I make you laugh, cry, or I say something so profound that you have to sit down and process, then…cool.
I pronounce this, my very first blog, to be a means of expression, while I spend a year living and working in Bangkok, Thailand. All the juicy details will be in my next post, right now it's my job to get you hooked.

Currently my feet are not so firmly planted in North Carolina, but only for the next 14 days. On the morning of November third, I will step onto a series of planes that will fly me roughly 10,000 miles from home. After almost 28 hours of travel, I will arrive in Bangkok, Thailand and begin a new, exciting, and probably sweatier chapter in my life. I'm not too keen on strict rules or guidelines. Never have been. Being a virgin blogger, I have no desire to follow any formula for blogging. The plan is to share all my fantastic, and even the not so fantastic, experiences I will have. I'm going to discuss everything: food, culture, people, weather, customs, money, news, and most importantly, my feelings. :) Maybe you'll agree with me on some things and maybe you won't. One of the perks to this whole life thing is that we have different opinions. Let's cherish our differences and celebrate our similarities! If you follow me and are not riveted, then maybe I’ll act as your surrogate Lunesta. Either way, I’m at your service.

The Travel Paige has an open door policy. Talk to me about anything. Ask me questions about anything. Argue with me, congratulate me, warn me, share with me, or show me ‘yours’. Though, I do reserve the right to be correct. Tell your friends; I'll be here all year.
So…are you hooked yet?