Saturday, May 5, 2012

A Funny Thing Happened to Me On My Way to School

I came here three months ago to find a new life as an English teacher. Last week, I was unemployed, had a potential for working several schools to earn a small income and my visa was about to run out.  Suddenly, I got a call from someone I had applied to months ago and everything changed.  It appears that I won't be teaching English any time soon however I will be able to return to my old career and stay here in Chiang Mai.  Making this return has saved me, for the moment, though I am not sure where it will lead. A few things needed to change to make this work.

First, we needed a car.  Nee has a friend who knows a mechanic who appears to also be in the used car business.  In the US, he would need a license to sell cars but here he just needs his driveway.  He showed us a number of cars over the last few weeks until last week.  Then we found a Nissan March, a car that looks more like a fat motorcycle than anything you would want to fill with your weekend suitcases for the trip to the coast.  The Nissan dealer had one that was a year old and already had enough miles as if it were three years older.  The price was a bit too good to be true, as well.  We mentioned this to our friend and suddenly another car appeared at the mechanic's.  This time a Chevrolet, five years old and very low mileage. 

I have been driving since the early 70's and most of my cars were Japanese with the exception of 71 Buick Skylark which I loved, even if I did have to put a piece of a two-by-four in the seat to make it level.  Fast forward about 30 years and now I am in Asia looking at a Chevy.  This one looks like my Camry, though, so it isn't a far stretch from my own perceived reality.  We drove it and loved it, breaking the heart of the dealer for a few seconds.

Next we needed a home closer to the job.  We had looked before and didn't find much.  This time, we stopped the truck in a neighborhood and Nee asked a lady who was cycling by with her baskets full of fruit to sell.  She pointed out a place behind the temple we were next to and we wandered in back.  There we found Shangri La, a beautifully landscaped resort complete with Koi carp, a fountain and hand-carved wooden doors.  The owner showed us around, offering us water, telling Nee about other houses available for rent nearby.  Finally she remembered a set of row houses that she happened to have an arrangement with and we walked in and decided we were home.  Thus, we now have a new home and a newish car.  Next I needed a visa. That is another long story which includes a trip to Laos and far too many modes of transportation.  In the meantime, we are moving tomorrow and begin the next phase of this adventure.  More about Laos later.

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