Culture Shock Episode 1
Being the first of my Culture Shock Series, I felt that it was only fitting I talked about toilets.
When we arrived to Thailand, we were informed that you cannot put toilet paper in the toilet. Marissa and I were kinda like “whatever” about that rule at first, but it soon became very obvious that we would lose this battle when our room started to reek of sewage. It was a tough adjustment remembering to throw tissue paper in the trash, but you get used to it. One time when I was drunk, I knocked over a full waste basket in the stall. I felt terribly just leaving the mess, but what was I supposed to do? Clean up poopy TP with my bare hands? Nope.
That’s not the worst of it. Because toilet paper cannot be flushed, 90% of bathrooms do not have toilet paper. It’s good to always carry TP around, but there are alternatives in case you forget. First and foremost is the bum gun. Most bathrooms will have a bum gun. Some people really embrace the bum gun, but I’m not there yet. I don’t understand is how you are supposed to dry once your butt is clean. Like wait a while? Wiggle? These types of conversations are hard to have across a language barrier. I’m obviously doing something wrong, so I try to avoid these unfortunate circumstances. Worst case scenario: there’s not even a bum gun, just a bucket. You’re supposed to funnel the water from the bucket to clean yourself. Feeling #blessed I’ve avoided ever having to do this.
It is important to note that western toilets aren’t really a thing. Fortunately, there is one western toilet at my school and I honestly plan my day around that toilet. The next best thing to a western toilet is a regular looking toilet with no flush. In order to flush you have to manually pour water into the toilet bowl with a bucket until it’s clean. Last, but not least is the squatty potty. Yes, they are as scary as they look and they’re also fairly difficult to master. Fortunately, I became a squatting guru when I lived in the woods for 5 months. However, just because I can, doesn’t mean I like to. Every time I use the squatty, I fear for both my shoes, clothes and my phone. More often than not, pee ricoshades off the squatty bowl onto my shoes (sometimes into my shoes- ugh!). My work shoes are Crocs rubber flats for a reason! I’ve never actually fallen in a squatty potty but every time I use one, I fear that I might. Especially in my work skirt (which is too small), it’s kinda hard to balance while squatting. It’s an adventure every time, I tell ya.
This one time, all of a sudden I had to poop like never before. I was in class and I didn’t bring any TP. It was the kind of poop that would definitely come out if I wasn't squeezing my butt cheeks. I started sweating profusely and began pacing around the classroom because I don’t know where to go or what to do! I knew I would have to use a squatty potty since it was the closest facility. I started rifling through my students stuff to see if anyone had TP. Noone. With about 30 seconds to spare, I grabbed a few worksheets and waddled as fast as I could to the squatty. Yes, I made it. Yes, I wiped my ass with a worksheet. This is my life now I guess.