To see our new apartment take a look at this post: Our Apartment.
Shortly after we finished we met up on the ground floor of the condo with the rest of the new teachers and the welcome staff. We took some time to change money at the money exchange on the ground level then wandered around in Pearl for a bit longer before boarding the bus. The ISM PTA was so kind to bring us all out to lunch at a lovely local restaurant. A few of the parents met us there to welcome us and show their support. It was a buffet style lunch in an old British house and included shrimp and fish skewers with sweet chili sauce, fried rice, thai chicken and vegetables, pork salad, cold sliced beef with tar tar sauce, and a green salad with cheese sauce. For dessert we were served mango mousse and a fruit salad. Lunch was excellent! We were surprised that there weren’t any Burmese dishes and are looking forward to trying true Burmese cuisine. We enjoyed walking around the grounds of the estate and running back to the porch when it began down pouring. It is monsoon season here (May to October) which means that the sky is almost always overcast and it often lets out enormous amounts of water suddenly that floods the streets and everything else.
Kim began talking with one of the PTA mothers who, after finding out Kim was a chef, mentioned that her sister just opened up what sounded like a café of sorts that served coffee and pastries. She said that her sister might be looking into expanding to include a wider menu and asked if she could contact Kim. Although this specific opportunity might not amount to anything, we are very excited to be right in our assumption that Kim will be able to find prospective jobs by just meeting different people.
-surge protector strip
-all purpose cleaner
-wall hanger for shower
All of this came to $58,000 kyats (~$60 usd). The store itself was extremely busy and they only gave us an hour to grab things so it was very hectic and a bit stressful., but it was a good first trip all in all. This is a picture of Kim on the conveyer thing in the store. It is brilliant because it locks the shopping cart wheels so it doesn't roll.
At this point we were still exhausted but we really wanted to try and stay awake so we could sleep through the night. We decided to go find some groceries and headed across the street to the Korean grocery store. This was an interesting experience. As soon as we walked in all six cashiers turned to us and bowed while saying what I assume was ‘welcome’ or ‘hello’ in Korean. As we began to wander around the store there were many more workers standing around who seemed to be only there to greet us (again with a bow). Everything was in Korean and there were many strange items. All of the products were very expensive (as it was a very nice store that was very clean and well lit) but we didn’t want to leave empty handed so I got a box of moon-pie like cakes that I had tried a sample of and Kim got a thing of soda.
There are no crosswalks so we almost died multiple times crossing the street back. But Zoe said that the locals would get in A LOT of trouble if they were to hit a foreigner, so they might come very close but they would never actually hit you. It kind of reminded me of a game of frogger where you had to try and get to the next line on the road.
So we went back to Asia Light to grab some things to eat. We grabbed:
-apple juice (~$2.00 usd)
-mandarin orange juice (~$2.00 usd)
-yogurt (~$0.70 usd)
-crackers (~$0.85 usd)
-chips (~$0.50 usd)
-milk (~$2.00 usd)
-chocolate cake snack (~$0.35 usd)
-creamhorn like snack (~$0.35 usd)
-clock (~$2.60 usd)
-2 adapter plugs (~$0.65 and $0.20 usd)
When we returned we finally were able to get online! Yay! The internet is not quite as slow as I expected, it does take an extra few seconds to completely load a page but it is defiantly better than what I was prepared for. We took some time to Skype with Robin, Sonny, and Stan (and by we I mean me because Kim feel asleep while I was getting it set up. So that was our eventful first day in Myanmar. I am so happy that everything has been going smoothly and that ISM is so welcoming.
We will be making a post all about the wet market very soon!
We met up with the rest of the new teachers and our hosts (the principals and director) to board the bus headed to Shwedagon Pagoda. See our whole Shwedagon experience on this post: Shwedagon Pagoda | The temple of all Myanmar temples
After school Regi, the other art teacher, and I joined Zoe to go meet Gail, the previous art teacher. She had invited us to her apartment so we could greet each other before she left for her retirement in Texas. Over a glass of wine she shared with us the Yangon art scene and all of the progress she has made with the art program over the years. It was lovely to be able to absorb some of the knowledge that she has about art at ISM and in Myanmar.
Kim has been keeping busy this week organizing the household and finding her way around our neighborhood. Our new friends Steven and Sharon live right downstairs with their kids H & K; Steven is a Social Studies teacher with me at the high school. On Monday Sharon and Kim went to the wet market to get some groceries. She got 20 quail eggs for 600 kyat ($0.60 usd) unfortunately only about a dozen of them made it home. Pork was also purchased from a meat vendor which turned out to be very fatty and expensive, 8000 kyat for 1 kg ($8.00 usd for 2 lbs). Being a foreigner that they don’t know they tend to jack up the prices of everything. We are working on developing our bartering skills. It was amazing to come home to all of the suitcases unpacked and the house in order! I am so lucky to have a wonderful partner!!
Although it was fairly late when I returned home I wanted to talk with my family because I hadn’t gotten the chance yet. Luckily I was able to Skype with Andrea, Sam, Zane, Dad, Drew, and Autumn, all at the same time! It was so nice to see everyone and get to share with them a bit of the adventure that I have had so far. Before long I had to say goodbye because I was so very tired! Long and exciting days!
Kim had been very busy during the day and I walked into an amazing smelling apartment. Kim had found her way to CityMart which is a more high end grocery store for the area that has a larger selection of goods with a variety of meats, frozen foods, cheeses, and a few aisles of dry goods. For dinner she made a delicious soup of carrots, eggplant, onion, pork, baby potatoes, with a chicken curry base. We invited another new teacher over to enjoy the meal and Li Qi made great company.
The rest of the week continued with about the same routine; I went to school from 7:00 am to 4:00 pm returning home about 4:45 pm after days of meetings and getting my classroom prepared. It became pretty stressful and overwhelming with the amount of information I was presented with and the short amount of time I had to get ready for teaching the following week. But I made it through. I ate out at the stalls near school a couple times usually having a rice dish with a bit of protein and some veggies. Here is where I ate on Thursday: